Cricket: Mooney steps down to find form
John Mooney has been relegated to the Ireland A team for the three-day game against Durham II, starting in Darlington this morning.
The North County all-rounder has played 134 games for the senior team but this season has scored only 13 runs in three innings and has bowled eight wicketless overs at a cost of 58 runs.
Mooney has been chosen to captain the team, in the absence of the injured James Shannon, and coach Phil Simmons, who is travelling with the squad, will be hoping his senior player can get more fruitful overs under his belt and spend valuable time in the middle at the next level down.
Indeed, Mooney is pencilled in to bat at No 5 above Andrew Poynter, the other member of the Ireland Twenty20 squad that lost 3-0 to Bangladesh last week who will be involved in the North East.
Otherwise the team is along the usual lines with five survivors from the team that defeated Scotland A last month, while Ben Ackland and Limavady’s Andrew Britton, who played in the win over Gloucestershire in May, are recalled.
Stuart Thompson, whose performance at Uddingston elevated him into the senior team, is also in the side and gives the other uncapped players hope of a call-up.
The new faces are North Down’s Peter Eakin, the Regent House pupil who has made such an impression this season with bat and ball and Brigade all-rounder Johnny Thompson, who will be kept busy ahead of the North West cup final, starting on Friday.
The squad is completed by Albert van der Merwe, who played in the Intercontinental Cup match against Afghanistan this month — but bowled only eight overs — and Stuart Poynter takes over the wicket-keeping gloves from Rory McCann.
Poynter, the younger brother of Andrew, lives in London and has not played any representative cricket since his keeping in the Intercontinental Cup games at the end of last season against Namibia and Canada.
South Africa A arrive in Ireland next month for a four-week tour with four-day games in Oakhill (August 6-9), Coleraine (13-16), a one-day game in Strabane (19), two at Stormont (21 and 23) and four T20 games in Oakhill (27 and 29) and Malahide (31 and September 2).
Ireland A: J Mooney (capt), B Ackland, J Anderson, A Britton, C Dougherty, P Eaglestone, P Eakin, A Poynter, S Poynter, J Thompson, S Thompson, A van der Merwe.