Warriors head south for opening clash
Leinster Lighting v North West Warriors preview by Lawrence Moore
A long and often arduous winter will be left behind tomorrow as Gary Wilson takes his North West Warriors side to Pembroke for the first competitive game of the 2021 season against Leinster Lightning.
Although played behind closed doors, the match will be met with much relief from players and supporters alike as the sport here takes its first steps back to something resembling normality.
Both camps have already named their squads for the opening contest; the hosts with a different look about them than normal due to a combination of unavailability and Cricket Ireland’s close season re-shuffle. Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie is one of those missing for the home team- he’s quarantined for now- meaning there are a handful of new and fairly new faces in Nigel Jones’s side.
It’s a new look Warriors team this year with a new coaching team of Gary Wilson and William Porterfield plus new sponsors, Fleming-Agri. They have almost a full deck to choose from and will be hoping to put up a better showing against the southerners than has usually been the case in recent seasons. The top order is strengthened by the addition of Stephen Doheny and the options available to Coach Wilson and his skipper Andy McBrine look decent.
The return of William McClintock and Stuart Thompson and the arrival of Shane Getkate greatly increases the Warriors’ genuine “all-rounder” options, especially when you add in McBrine, Graham Hume, Graham Kennedy and Ross Allen. The batting looks much more balanced with Porterfield and Nathan McGuire potentially joining Doheny at the top, while the pace options of Boyd Rankin, Craig Young and Conor Olphert as well as Hume, Thompson and McClintock mean that the skipper will have to rotate wisely.
Any game against George Dockrell’s side is sure to be tough but the Warriors will feel they have a fighting chance as they set off on Saturday morning.
Action gets under way at 10.45am and we’ll have a full report on the match tomorrow evening.
The squads in full-
Leinster Lightning – George Dockrell, Lorcan Tucker, Peter Chase, JJ Garth, Jamie Grassi, Barry McCarthy, James Newland, Kevin O’Brien, David O’Halloran, Simi Singh, Jack Tector, Tim Tector
North West Warriors – Andy McBrine, William Porterfield, Shane Getkate, Stephen Doheny, Nathan McGuire, Stuart Thompson, William McClintock, Ross Allen, Craig Young, Graham Kennedy, Conor Olphert, Boyd Rankin, Graham Hume.
The North West Warriors are sponsored by Fleming-Agri whose logo will appear on the new playing kit and on advertising boards around the boundary. The support of Fleming-Agri is hugely appreciated by Warriors players, coaches and the NWCU.