Cricket Ireland have announced their squad to play Scotland in three T20 Internationals at Bready later this month and the local fraternity will be delighted that there will be four North West faces in the Irish camp.
Warriors captain Andy McBrine retains his place after an excellent showing at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand during the winter while Stuart Thompson is confirmed as well. The Eglinton all-rounder has been in brilliant form at Interprovincial level lately and starred in the win over the Northern Knights on his home patch on Friday night.
Coleraine’s Graeme McCarter has been on the fringe of the International side for a while now but is another player to have impressed in the blue and green this season. McCarter has been on the money for Bobby Rao’s men since returning from English County side Gloucester at the end of last season and is mad keen to impress the Irish selectors.
The fourth of the quartet is Craig Young- a player many felt got a raw deal from Phil Simmons during the World Cup. The former Sussex Academy player went to Australia on the back of some superb performances in Ireland’s warm up games and was even named in Cricket Australia’s “ten to watch” ahead of the tournament.
As it was he never bowled a ball- Simmons appearing to favour an all-round batting side as opposed to play his premier bowler against the world’s best players.
For Young though, the chance to run out at his home ground Bready in an Irish International team looms large. He ought to be a certain starter for new coach John Bracewell, but with the World Cup still fresh in his mind, he won’t be counting any chickens.
One disappointing note for home supporters will be the absence of Ireland skipper, William Porterfield, from the squad, the former Donemana player required for county duty by Warwickshire.
Kevin O’Brien takes over the armband from Porterfield and the Railway Union man, famed for that World Cup century against England in 2011 is no bad replacement. Paul Stirling, one of the most exciting limited overs batsmen anywhere in the world is also included, albeit his availability is dependent on his county team, Middlesex.
All in all it looks like being a superb weekend of cricket for the North West public as International cricket returns to the region for the first time in almost 18 years. The Thursday and Friday matches are 5.30 pm starts while the Sunday game is a 2pm start and a family-orientated day.
Tickets are now available from Ticketmaster or from Bready Cricket Club priced at £5 per game or £12 for all three. Under 16’s are free and with a good crowd expected throughout, there is sure to be plenty of entertainment on offer.
Ireland squad to play Scotland in T20 International series at Bready on June 18, 19, and 21: Kevin O’Brien (capt) (Railway Union), Andrew Balbirnie* (Middlesex), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), George Dockrell* (Somerset), Tyrone Kane (Merrion), Andrew McBrine (Donemana), Graeme McCarter (Coleraine), John Mooney (Balbriggan), Andrew Poynter (Clontarf), Stuart Poynter* (Durham), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling* (Middlesex), Stuart Thompson (Eglinton), Craig Young (Bready).
*Indicates that players may be required by their county sides at some point over the weekend