Waringstown's red-hot streak bodes well for Irish Cup quest
There cannot be any more confident team than Waringstown going into tomorrow's Irish Cup semi-finals. The 2015 winners and last year's beaten finalists are unbeaten in any competition since July 1 and have won their last seven Premier League games.
But it is not just the results that are pleasing skipper Greg Thompson.
"We are playing good cricket, regardless of the results," he said. "We have a settled team, every player understands their role and we're looking forward to the visit of Pembroke, a good young team who will have at least three internationals in Andrew Balbirnie, Josh Little and Lorcan Tucker.
"So we are expecting a hard game and just hope we can produce another good performance."
In contrast, Instonians are on a losing run of four league games going into their game at The Hills, and since they defeated CIYMS in the Irish Cup quarter-finals five weeks ago, they have also been beaten in the NCU T20 semi-final and Challenge Cup final.
The Hills, who are captained by former Ireland international Max Sorensen, defeated Merrion in the Leinster Cup final two weeks ago, and followed that up by hammering North County by 139 runs last Monday with a century from Sean Terry and four wickets from Albert van der Merwe to move up to second place in the Division 1 table. It will need a huge performance from Instonians to win this one.
Thompson is one of six players in Irish Cup action who have been selected for the Northern Knights' Twenty20 Trophy finale against the North West Warriors at Belmont this evening.
It could have been as many as nine, but Adam Dennison, Lee Nelson and Nathan Smith have all been rested in what is a dead rubber for the Knights to give the selectors another chance to look at younger players who could figure in the winter training squad. Graeme McMcCarter has also been left out and in come Alex Haggan, Adam Berry, James Magowan, as wicket-keeper, and John Matchett, on his home ground.
Meanwhile, in tomorrow's curtailed Premier League programme, North Down will join Waringstown at the top of the table if they beat Muckamore at Moylena, while the winners of the Middle Road clash between Carrick and CIYMS will move within four points of the leaders.
Knights: J Shannon (capt), A Berry, C Dougherty, S Getkate, A Haggan, G Kidd, R McKinley, J Magowan, J Matchett, J Mulder, Nik Smith, G Thompson.
FIXTURES: Tonight (5pm): Northern Knights v North West Warriors (Belmont)
Tomorrow (12.00): Irish Cup semi-finals: Waringstown v Pembroke (12.30), The Hills v Instonians (12.30)
Gardiner Bros Premier League: Carrick v CIYMS (11.00), Muckamore v North Down
Section One: Bangor v Armagh, Donaghcloney Mill v Downpatrick, Lurgan v Academy, Woodvale v Cliftonville
Section Two: Ballymena v Cregagh, BISC v Donaghadee, Larne v Dundrum, Laurelvale v Cooke Collegians, Saintfield v Templepatrick. Sunday: Donaghadee v Larne, Dundrum v Saintfield
Section Three: Dungannon v Dunmurry, Newforge v Monaghan, Victoria v Drumaness
Sunday: Ulster Cup semi-finals: North Down v Bready (Comber, 11.30), Waringstown v Coleraine (Saintfield, 11.00). Final (Comber, 4.00)