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There are no walkovers in league and that's good, insists Thompson

 

By Ian Callender

Greg Thompson believes the only thing Waringstown's defeat by Muckamore last Saturday in the AJG Challenge Cup proves is that every team in the Premier League can beat anyone else on the day.

The Waringstown captain admits he was disappointed to go out at the first stage of a knock-out competition for the first time in his five seasons at the club but insists two successive defeats - they lost to Instonians in the league seven days earlier - does not make them a bad team.

"The teams in the league are all strong, there are no walk-overs and that is a good thing in my opinion," says Thompson.

"The Muckamore defeat was disappointing but although we lost the game by about two inches (Marcus McClean was run out going for a second run to tie the scores) it wasn't the last pair that lost it. We lost wickets at key times and were not clinical enough on the day.

"But I'm taking nothing away from Muckamore, it was a game when neither team ever took control and no-one was ever certain to take the win, but they got over the line."

An away game against CIYMS is Waringstown's next league assignment tomorrow - another match of the day fixture against likely title contenders - but Thompson is looking forward to it.

"I'm glad it's CI because we know we will have to play well to beat them and that's what you want. There's no point shying away from big games, we have proven over the last five years we have a strong squad that can stand up to the pressure," he added while confirming that James McCollum, Gary Kidd and Phil Eaglestone, who missed the cup match, are all back for the Belmont clash.

Because of the Irish Cup and Challenge Cup weekends, teams are playing only their third league game tomorrow but Carrickfergus are the only team to have won their first two.

They travel to North Down in the early start while Muckamore will ensure there is no complacency after their triumphant return to the top section when they meet improving Lisburn at Wallace Park.

Civil Service North are unbeaten in two games under new captain Graeme McCarter but it will be a big ask for the team to break their duck in the league tomorrow when they visit champions Instonians.

Sunday's opening Women's Super 3s game of the season, scheduled for Lisburn, has been postponed because of exams. It will be rescheduled.

It means a blank Sunday in the NCU - it is sure to be a dry day! - but the Emerging Knights make the trip to Oakhill to face the Leinster Lightning Bolts.

There are three changes to the team which beat the Ireland Under 19s last Sunday with Stephen Bunting injured and Michael Gilmore and Lee Nelson promoted to the senior squad for tonight's Twenty20 opener against the Munster Reds. Into the 12 are CI's John Matchett, Instonians wicket-keeper James Metcalfe and Waringstown pair James McCollum and Morgan Topping.

But spare a thought for Craig Lewis who has been selected in both squads.

So after travelling to Cork today, he will then return for Derriaghy's game against Bangor tomorrow and then head back south again for another 350-miles round trip to Co Wicklow!

Emerging Knights: A Berry (capt), M Berry, A Haggan, J Holmes, C Lewis, J Magee, J Magowan, J Matchett, J Metcalfe, C Moorehead, J McCollum, M Topping.

Fixtures: Hanley Energy Inter-provincial: Munster Reds v Northern Knights (Cork) Tonight (5pm)

Tomorrow (1pm): NCU Premier League: CIYMS v Waringstown, Instonians v Civil Service North, Lisburn v Muckamore, North Down v Carrickfergus (12pm)

Section One: Academy v Woodvale, Bangor v Derriaghy, Cliftonville v Armagh, Holywood v Downpatrick, Lurgan v Donaghcloney Mill (12.30pm)

Section Two: Ballymena v Laurelvale, Donaghadee v Templepatrick, Dundrum v BISC, Larne v Cregagh, Saintfield v Cooke Collegians

Section Three: Ards v Newforge, Dunmurry v Victoria, Monaghan v Drumaness.

Belfast Telegraph

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