Cricket: Birrell to take up coaching role with Scotland
Adrian Birrell, the man who guided Ireland to the World Cup Super Eights as coach and mentor, is joining the coaching staff of Cricket Scotland.
Birrell has been appointed as the team's coaching consultant to support newly appointed Scotland Head Coach Peter Steindl through to the 2009 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Specifically, Birrell will assist Steindl in the areas of planning and tactics, in addition to delivering practical sessions with the team and supporting the coach on identified match days.
It is believed that he will not be involved in any Scotland-Ireland matches but it will certainly not prevent him from giving tactical assistance before games against the auld enemy and, of course, the majority of the current Irish team were brought into the team by Birrell who knows all their strengths and weaknesses.
Speaking yesterday, Birrell said: "I am delighted to be involved again in top class cricket after my short break. The offer to work on a consultancy basis with the Scotland team is a great opportunity to assist a national team on a part-time basis."
Not only will Ireland meet Scotland in two ODIs next year but they also clash in the Twenty20 World Cup qualifying tournament in Belfast.
Meanwhile, Instonians, the ClubTurf Ulster Cup holders will face familiar opponents when they start their defence.
For the fourth successive year, the Shaw's Bridge side have been drawn against Strabane but, for the first time they must travel to the North West.
As usual the draw was seeded to ensure four games in each area and no team could play another from the same area. For North West newcomers Killymallaght, they have been pitched straight into the big time with a game away to NCU champions North Down on the same day that Brigade must also travel south east, to face Lisburn.
In the Sperrin Springs Ulster Shield draw, for the Section Two teams in the NCU and North West, Downpatrick's first cup game at this level will be at home to Bonds Glen while Muckamore start out with a difficult game at Sion Mills.
The new general secretary of the Northern Cricket Union is former chairman and PR officer Bryan Milford. He will fill the void left by the late Bill McCarroll.
ClubTurf Ulster Cup first round draw: Bready v Waringstown, North Down v Killymallaght, Glendermott v Derriaghy, Bangor v Donemana, Limavady v Carrickfergus, Civil Service North v Eglinton, Strabane v Instonians, Lisburn v Brigade. Games to be played on Sunday May 11.
Sperrin Springs Ulster Shield draw: Woodvale v Killyclooney, Creevedonnell v Laurelvale, Holywood v Burndennett, Sion Mills v Muckamore, Downpatrick v Bonds Glen, The Nedd v Dundrum, Armagh v St Johnston, Coleraine v Saintfield. Games to be played on Sunday June 1.