Lisburn captain David Simpson has broken the club’s silence on last weekend’s decision to have a bowl-out, rather than move their Challenge Cup quarter final to Waringstown — with a “no comment”.
There was widespread criticism of the Wallace Park side’s decision not to play cricket, and when they won the bowl-out |4-3, to knock out the holders, the reaction turned angry.
Simpson, though, while confirming it was a “club decision” rather than a team decision would only say that “we have dealt with the situation and are not going to make any further comment”.
The club were only abiding by the rules — delegates to last year’s annual meeting of the Northern Cricket Union voted to have a bowl-out if the second attempt to play a cup tie was washed out, to ease fixture congestion — but, undoubtedly, it was against the spirit of cricket when they refused to travel 16 miles to The Lawn, which was playable, to settle the tie.
The general “amazed” reaction at the other grounds to Lisburn’s decision was that it was the easiest way to get into the last four as they were underdogs to beat Waringstown in a match, but Simpson and his team-mates knew their reward would be a probable trip to Comber.
Sure enough, North Down duly beat their Section One opponents on Sunday but instead of the semi final everyone outside Wallace Park wanted — a clash between last year’s top two, it is Lisburn who will be the champions’ semi final opposition.
“If there’s anywhere you want to play it is The Green,” says Simpson. “We are a good team and we will back ourselves. On our day, if we perform we can beat anyone.”
Darryl Brown has finally come good and as Simpson admits, they just need some-back up from the other players.
“Nathan Waller is back on Saturday and it will be a big help in the bowling and Greg Thompson is still still a class act with bat and ball,” he said.
The other game is at Moylena, between Muckamore and Instonians, who will be hot favourites to reach their second cup final after winning the Twenty20 Cup semi final against Ballymena on Tuesday.
Sunday sees the semi finals of the ClubTurf Ulster Cup with North Down playing their second successive cup tie, away to North West League champions Brigade while Civil Service North host Donemana. The final is scheduled for August 5.
Waringstown will meet Instonians in the Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 final next Friday after the Villagers won their semi-final against Civil Service North 3-1 in a bowl-out.
Tomorrow’s fixtures: Ulster Bank Challenge Cup semi finals (noon): Muckamore v Instonians, North Down v Lisburn.
Ulster Bank Premier League (1pm): Ballymena v CIYMS, Civil Service North v Waringstown.
Section One: Cliftonville v Holywood, Derriaghy v Bangor, Downpatrick v Donacloney, Woodvale v Lurgan.
Section Two: Academy v BISC, Armagh v Cooke Collegians, Drumaness v Saintfield, Millpark v Portadown, Templepatrick v Laurelvale. Sunday: Armagh v Saintfield, Drumaness v Millpark, Templepatrick v Academy.
Sunday: ClubTurf Ulster Cup semi final: Civil Service North v Donemana.
Ulster Shield semi finals: Muckamore v Dundrum (noon).