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Nelson glad to end Waringstown league title drought

By Ian Callender

Published 14/09/2015

Hands on the prize: Lee Nelson lifts the Premier League crown
Hands on the prize: Lee Nelson lifts the Premier League crown

Waringstown captain Lee Nelson has admitted that his side's Ulster Bank League title success was much more satisfying than their Irish Cup victory last weekend.

Nelson, who picked up an injury during the Northern Knights match last week, hobbled up to receive the Premier League trophy at The Lawn on Saturday, shortly after Waringstown's final game against Instonians had been postponed and put back to next Saturday.

"Take the boardroom win (when Waringstown were awarded the title in 2006) out of it and it has been 15 years since we've won the league outright which is pretty poor for a club of this stature," said Nelson. "So it has been a long time.

"We've already started talking about how to better ourselves from U11 level all the way up to 1st XI.

"We know everybody is going to come hard at us, because we are up there to be shot at.

"But we certainly will not be resting on our laurels, because that's not the way this place works."

The Villagers used two professionals this year, Ruhan Pretorius and JP de Villiers, and both are among "three or four irons in the fire" for next season, "but the committee will decide that over the next month or so," added the skipper.

Undoubtedly, however, Waringstown wouldn't have won the trophy without the runs of James Hall, the first local player to score 1,200 runs since Ryan Haire in 2010 - and Hall missed six matches!

Hall, who puts much of his success this season down to coach Simon Johnston, said: "The torn hamstring was my first proper injury, ever.

"I started working with Jonty (coach Johnson) in November and he has made a massive difference both for the team and individuals as well.

"He has always been either at the club or on the end of the phone and I couldn't give him enough praise.

"It's just been a case of relaxing, playing my cricket and enjoying it and everything has gone for me this season."

And the only way to do that, according to Hall, is to commit himself to Waringstown and he has no ambition of returning to the international stage, where he made the last of his eight appearances as a 21-year-old back in 2010.

"I am happy with the way things are at the minute," added Hall.

"There is always an itch to get back but I'm enjoying my cricket right now.

"I would have to take a lot of time off work to play for the Knights and there are other factors."

Meanwhile, Cliftonville were relegated to Section Two on Saturday after a second defeat of the season to Donacloney, whose seven-wickets victory ensured they stayed up.

In the North West, Bready beat Championship runners-up Fox Lodge by 81 runs to preserve their top-flight status and Brigade, after giving up their chance of winning the Premiership title due to unavailable key players, finished the season with a trophy after they defeated Killyclooney in Saturday's Faughan Valley final by 76 runs.

Belfast Telegraph

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