Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Cricket: Average guy McCallan feels a new sense of freedom

Kyle McCallan admits it is a relief to go into tomorrow’s top of the table Ulster Bank Premier League clash against CIYMS with an average.

The Waringstown all rounder was dismissed for the first time last Sunday, in his sixth innings, after scoring 607 runs and says it is a huge weight off his shoulders.

“No question, it is a relief. It was starting to become personal and people were taking it too serious,” said McCallan.

“My mindset is to treat every ball on its merits but in the last couple of matches it had changed to not wanting to get out.

“Now I can return to basics and bat with less pressure.”

It was McCallan’s idea to open the batting at Waringstown after his retirement from international cricket and so far it could not have worked out any better.

“For the last few years I have been batting down the order with Ireland but I spoke to Jonathan Bushe (the Waringstown captain) and said I wouldn’t be against the idea of opening again,” he added.

“It allows me to get involved from ball one and while my run of not outs had to come to an end, I have reassessed my target for the season.”

McCallan, maybe somewhat surprisingly, does not consider tomorrow’s game at Belmont as the Villagers most important match of the season.

“I think that would be doing a disservice to North Down,” says McCallan.

“Yes, we are the last two unbeaten teams in the league but that’s only because we have already won at Comber.

“That was a big win (when McCallan scored 19, including three sixes, off the last over) although after all those years of Waringstown, North Down rivalry it’s great to see other teams coming through.

“It was Instonians last year and this season it is CIYMS with the (Craig) McMillan factor.

“It’s very healthy for the league.”

It is not just former New Zealand Test star McMillan who Waringstown will have to get out tomorrow.

CI captain Barry Cooper is undefeated on 268 runs in his last three innings against Donemana, Muckamore and Brigade so he can start thinking about McCallan’s feat, but after league wins over Civil Service North, Lurgan and Carrickfergus it will certainly be the biggest test for the new kids on the block.

At the other end of the table it is also a big day for Ballymena whose need to get points on the board becomes more urgent by the week and a home game against Lisburn is one they cannot waste, but it does not get any easier for Lurgan, the other top flight team without a win as, for the second successive week, they host defending joint champions Instonians.

Carrickfergus will be looking for a third league win of the season at home to Downpatrick while Civil Service North take on North Down at Stormont.

Tomorrow’s fixtures: Ulster Bank Premier League (1pm): Ballymena v Lisburn, Carrickfergus v Downpatrick, CIYMS v Waringstown, Civil Service North v North Down, Lurgan v Instonians.

Section One: Armagh v Cliftonville, Dundrum v Derriaghy, Laurelvale v Bangor, Saintfield v Muckamore (12.00), Holywood v Woodvale.

Section Two: Academy v Larne, Cooke Collegians v Donacloney, Cregagh v Dungannon, Dunmurry v Millpark, Drumaness v Templepatrick.

Section Three: Clogher v Ards, Donaghadee v Portadown, Victoria v PSNI.

Sunday: Section One: Derriaghy v Muckamore.

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