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Warriors ring changes for inter-pro battles

 

By Ian Callender

North West Warriors have named Donemana's new professional Imran Butt in the team for next week's inter-provincials against the Northern Knights.

The Pakistani pace-bowling all-rounder is one of three changes to the side that played the first List-A game against Leinster Lightning for Monday's 50-over clash at Strabane, with David Scanlon and Ross Allen also coming in for Andy Britton and Gary McClintock, who have work commitments, and Niall O'Brien, who is unavailable.

It means the Warriors will again have two overseas players in their line-up with Bready's Irosh Samarasooriya retaining his place after hitting 77 at The Hills, more than three times more than any of his team-mates in their opening-day 105-runs defeat.

The Warriors selectors have also named the same squad for the historic first domestic first-class game against the Knights which will see up to seven players making their first-class debuts.

Sri Lankan Samarasooriya will be the most experienced with 51 games already under his belt, while Butt has played 39. Captain Andy McBrine and fellow Ireland internationals Stuart Thompson and Craig Young are the others who already have first-class experience.

Nine of the squad are also involved in tonight's Twenty20 Trophy opener against Lightning at Bready as they face up to six days' cricket in the next seven, including tomorrow's Bank of Ireland Senior Cup ties.

Donemana start their quest for a record-equalling sixth successive triumph at Eglinton in a repeat of the 2015 final. It is one of two all-Premiership ties, the other being top v bottom as Coleraine, last year's finalists, host Drummond.

Cup upsets in the North West are as rare as Donemana failing to reach the final - they have been in seven of the last eight - but three of the Championship clubs, Ballyspallen, Bonds Glen and Killyclooney, at least have home advantage against their top-flight opponents.

Two Championship sides are certain to be in the quarter-final draw with the winners of the Newbuildings-Glendermott game joining Strabane, who defeated Burndennett in a game brought forward to last Sunday.

North West Warriors: A McBrine (capt), R Allen, I Butt, R-L Dougherty, A Gillespie, S Lazars, D Rankin, I Samarasooriya, D Scanlon, J Thompson, S Thompson, C Young.

Fixtures: Hanley Energy inter-provincial: North West Warriors v Leinster Lightning (Bready, tonight 5pm).

Tomorrow: Bank of Ireland Senior Cup 1st round: Ardmore v St Johnston, Ballyspallen v Brigade, Bonds Glen v Bready, Coleraine v Drummond, Eglinton v Donemana, Killyclooney v Fox Lodge, Newbuildings v Glendermott.

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