Andrew White confident Northern Knights can make big charge on cricket title
Andrew White says the Northern Knights squad is in a great position to claim at least one of the inter-provincial trophies this season.
The Knights skipper leads what he calls the competition's "most dynamic all-round side" when they get the new-look Twenty20 Trophy under way at Stormont tonight against Leinster Lightning.
All but one of the games in the competition are being played on Fridays (5pm starts, apart from today which is 4.30pm) and it will be used as match preparation for the World Twenty20 Qualifying competition which takes place over three weeks in July. The Hanley Energy inter-pro series will be wrapped up by June 12.
Lightning include three of the Ireland World Cup squad, captain John Mooney plus Kevin O'Brien and Max Sorensen , while Andrew Poynter and Kenny Carroll are T20 specialists, and although White has retired from the international scene, his team includes Waringstown all-rounder Greg Thompson who made an impact with the bat in Ireland A's game at Lord's last week and, if he impresses with his leg spin bowling, could yet win a recall to the international set-up after a seven-year absence.
White said: We have had a great turnout at the nets and everyone is raring to go The batting is looking strong (with Thompson at six) and there is a great variety of bowlers."
"Leinster may have the international experience, North West probably the best bowling attack but we have the most dynamic all-round side. Hopefully it will be a big season for us."
As might be expected, half of the Knights squad are involved in the Premier League match of the day tomorrow when White and James Shannon, line-out for defending champions Instonians against last year's runner-up Waringstown who have Phil Eaglestone, Gary Kidd, Lee Nelson and Greg Thompson on duty tonight.
It will be a first game of the season for the Villagers, following last week's wash-out at Carrickfergus, while Instonians had a comfortable win against Lisburn.
In a fascinating set of second round fixtures, North Down welcome new professional Pieter Malan for their home game against title favourites CIYMS and the teams expected to fill the bottom two places, Ballymena and Lisburn meet at Eaton Park. Carrickergus' first Premier League game for three years is away to Civil Service North.
The gates on the Upper Newtownards Road to Stormont open at 4.30pm today. Earlier arrivals will have to use the Stoney Road entrance. Admission is free.
Fixtures: Today (4.30pm) Hanley Energy T20 Trophy: Northern Knights v Leinster Lightning
Tomorrow (1.00pm): Ulster Bank Premier League: Ballymena v Lisburn, Civil Service North v Carrickfergus (12.00), Instonians v Waringstown, North Down v CIYMS (12.00)
Section One: Bangor v Muckamore, Woodvale v Downpatrick, Templepatrick v Lurgan
Section Two: Armagh v BISC, Cregagh v Saintfield, Larne v Drumaness, Laurelvale v Dundrum, Victoria v Holywood
Section Three: Cooke Collegians v Dunmurry, Dungannon v Donaghadee, Millpark v Ards, Newforge v Monaghan
Ulster Bank Challenge Cup preliminary round (12 noon): Derriaghy v Academy, Donacloney v Cliftonville
Long's SuperValu Premiership (1.00pm): Coleraine v Bready, Eglinton v Ardmore, St Johnston v Donemana, Strabane v Brigade
Championship: Bonds Glen v Drummond, Creevedonnell v Burndennett, Fox Lodge v Newbuildings, Glendermott v Killyclooney
Sunday: Faughan Valley Charity Shield finals (at Bready): St Johnston v Burndennett (1pm), Brigade v Donemana (4pm)