Ian McGregor cut a frustrated figure this weekend as the Test Triangle Interprovincial T20 competition was abandoned without a ball bowled in any of the scheduled matches. The washout meant that it was the Northern Knights who claimed the trophy by virtue of winning the two games they played out of their scheduled six. That was one more than the North West Warriors who ended the competition with a record of one defeat (against the Knights) with the other five abandoned.
The Head Coach was realistic about the outcome and preferred instead to look ahead to what he referred to as “three huge games” between now and the end of the season.
“It’s impossible to weigh up the T20 campaign considering we only played one match. These things happen- the ground staff at both venues work exceptionally hard to try to get games in, but it’s been one of those summers” he began.
“You just draw a line under it and move on because we’re still very much in contention in the other two formats.”
“We head back to Dublin on Thursday for a 50-over game against Leinster Lightning and are then in Eglinton the following Monday against the Knights. It’s a big ask, but we know that two wins in those games would put us right in the mix.”
“There’s a very short turnaround before our final match of the season, a 3-dayer against the Knights at Bready gets under way on Tuesday morning. After our draw at North County last week, the last game is something of a winner-takes-all, so it’s good that our season is going right down to the wire with a chance of winning both trophies.”
The Warriors of course are the reigning champions in the First Class format; something McGregor feels can stand his side in good stead both in the coming weeks and going forward.
“Leinster Lightning have set the standard in the early years of Interpro competition and it was up to the rest of us to bridge the gap. In that 3-day draw recently, we went there minus Boyd Rankin, Davy Scanlon and Stuart Thompson- three of the best seam bowlers in the tournament- and bowled Lightning out for 130 ”
“Craig Young is bowling as well as I have ever seen him and Graham Hume has come into the set-up and made it look like he’s always been there. Ryan Macbeth did very well when he got his chance and Graham Kennedy is turning into something of a ‘golden arm’ for us. In all honesty, I believe we have the best seam options in the Interpros.”
William Porterfield heads up a batting order that has struggled for consistency this summer but McGregor is hopeful that Will Smale can show his worth before the trophies are handed out at the end of the month.
“Will hasn’t had the chance to show what he can do with the bat- he was run out in the Leinster game right at the start of his innings before the T20’s were hit by rain, but his time will come. That said, we’ve had him in the Ireland under-19 set-up for a while now so I’m fully aware of his ability and potential already.”
“Confidence can be a big thing for batsmen but we aren’t short on quality in that department either. The boys are well aware of what we can still achieve this season and the spirit in the camp remains really high.”
McGregor is aware of the irony that he now needs the weather to behave over the closing weeks of the season if his side are to give themselves a chance in the trophy hunt.
“It’s one of those things, and given the way the summer has gone so far it’s difficult to imagine we’re going to get five days of glorious sunshine. We can’t play the weather however- we just have to turn up and try make sure we do our part.”
“The fact that our opponents will all have something to play for might help the prospects of game time, particularly in the three-day match against the Knights. A win there for either side would earn them the title so at least it should be a fascinating end to the Interprovincial summer.”