North West Warriors coach Boyd Rankin excited about future
North West Warriors Coach, Boyd Rankin, believes cricket is in a very healthy state in North West.
Rankin described his current Warriors squad as very strong and says the younger players in the Emerging Warriors side are also performing well which is keeping the senior side on their toes.
“There is plenty of talent in the north west, it’s all about just trying to get them more cricket,” stated the Warriors coach.
“The Emerging series is obviously great for the guys that are on the fringes to get more games, to obviously put in performances which then hopefully puts pressure on the guys who are in the senior Warriors squad. Those players know they have to perform otherwise there are people chomping at the bit to play.
“I think that’s a good way to be and looking back in terms of my own career, you had to be on the ball all the time. You couldn’t let yourself go because you knew that there was someone else there wanting to take your spot and that’s the same now.
"It is a pressure environment because, at the end of the day, you have to score runs and take wickets. If you aren’t doing that somebody else will obviously want to get their chance and I think that’s a really healthy position to be in.
“It’s probably a position that we haven’t really been in too often over the last few years.”
Tomorrow morning (Friday) his Warriors side take on Munster Reds at Eglinton knowing a victory would clinch them the Interprovincial 50 Over Cup and Rankin is happy to have somewhat of a selection headache.
“Friday’s game is going to be a difficult call in terms of who’s not playing,” he explained. “That’s a great situation to be in. I think before at times we have had to potentially just play the 11 that we had but now we have a good core group of players who can all play and perform and that will help the North West in the long term.
“The likes of Conor Olphert and Graham Hume, who have been around playing and are now obviously getting contracts, there is an opportunity there for young North West cricketers to get through the pathway to play for the Emerging squad, then the Warriors and then obviously be picked for Ireland which is the long term goal for most young kids.
“We now have a great stepping stone in place and a clear pathway so there’s no reason now why these talented players can’t go the whole way. Now it’s all about just trying to manage them as best we can.”
One man who Rankin is going to have to replace is former Ireland captain, William Porterfield, after the Warriors’ opening batsman announced his retirement a few weeks ago.
“Purdy is obviously going to be a massive loss for us,” he stated. “Not just his batting but his experience and helping ‘Scra’ (Andy McBrine) on the field was pretty massive for us.
“Potentially he would have liked a few more runs in the games that he had for us and I think he got two ducks in the two games that we won quite comfortably, so hopefully whoever comes in there can do a decent job.
"I think obviously we have the likes of Stephen Doheny and in terms of Andy McBrine, who has come in and around the top order, I think he will help as well with whoever does come in to opening.
“I think we’re in a really good position in terms of where we are at. I feel it’s probably one of the strongest squads that we can put out for the game against Munster. Everyone is available and for us we’ve always tried to be really positive, attacking and tried to do the basics well and so far we have done that well so we’ll be looking to continue that on Friday.”
The one certainty is that there will be a new name on the trophy come the weekend, a win for the home side would see them claim the title while any other result would mean the Reds taking the spoils.
This is the only one of the three formats the Warriors have yet to win and coach Boyd Rankin would dearly love to put that right at the village venue this morning.
With Porterfield now retired, the hosts have brought in Newbuildings batsman, Ryan Hunter, as they look to add depth to the order.
The former Donemana and Brigade player has been in outstanding form for the Foyleview side this season and has earned his recall for the weekend’s showdown.
For Rankin, who’s keeping his fingers crossed that the bad weather stays away so they can play the game, he and the selectors have kept faith with pretty much the same squad that has served them well to this point in the competition.
“Firstly, I think the weather has to play ball and I’m hoping that we get a full game of cricket in on Friday,” he stated.
“It’s obviously a massive game for us. If we win it, then we win the 50 over competition and it’s great to be in a position to push for the title. I think the lads have played really well over the whole tournament.
“I think that win against Munster down in Munster showed exactly what we’re capable of.
“In general we’ve been bowling very well in the games and I think our batting has come together over the last couple of games,. We’re in a really good position to hopefully push for a win on Friday.”
North West Warriors squad: Andy McBrine (captain), Stephen Doheny (wk), Shane Getkate, Graham Hume, Ryan Hunter, Graham Kennedy, William McClintock, Nathan McGuire, Scott Macbeth, Ryan Macbeth, Craig Young, Conor Olphert, Jared Wilson.