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Cricket: O’Brien misses inter-pros after landing county deal

By Ian Callender

Kevin O’Brien has been left out of the South’s inter-provincial team next week because by then he will be Ireland’s ninth county professional.

O’Brien — the man who scored the fastest ever World Cup century, against England in Bangalore in March — will sign for Gloucestershire later this week, teaming up with Hamish Marshall, who is expected to be Ireland’s newest international when the team to play Pakistan is announced after the first inter-provincial of the season at Bready.

That day, O’Brien could make his county debut in a 40-overs game against Glamorgan in Cardiff.

Ireland play Pakistan — who reached the World Cup semi-finals — at Stormont on Saturday, May 28 and again on Bank Holiday Monday, May 30.

There will be one county player involved next weekend with Paul Stirling included in the North’s line-up because Middlesex do not have a one-day game on Sunday.

The one new name in the North squad of 12 is CIYMS captain Ben McCord who yesterday was on the receiving end of a North Down blitz, the defending champions piling up 348 for two in their Ulster Bank League game against CI at The Green.

McCord was one of the more successful, and respectable, bowlers with figures of one for 53 off his 10 overs as Ryan Haire, who is not in the North squad, hit an undefeated 143 from just 103 balls with nine sixes and seven fours.

Andrew Sutherland, with whom he shared a stand for the second wicket of 166 — after Neil Russell was lbw to McCord for 41 — was the other batsman dismissed, for 109 with three sixes and nine fours.

Peter Connell, who is included in the North squad, conceded 59 runs during his 10 overs.

It got no better for the Ireland hopefuls when they batted, with McCord dismissed for one as CI were bowled out in just 30 overs for 132.

The North Down victory made up for their wash-out on Saturday — only 30 overs were possible against Carrickfergus — but it still leaves them four points off the early pace set by Waringstown, Lisburn and, the surprise package, Ballymena.

The trio all won their third successive game on Saturday with South African Obus Pienaar falling just two runs short of 400 league runs when he was caught, off a skyer, for 81.

Waringstown still totalled 259 for eight which was 117 runs too many for Instonians as James Hall took career best figures of six for 43.

Andrew White, who will captain the North side next week, top scored for Instonians with 64 after taking three wickets.

An unbroken fourth wicket stand of 120 between Robert Rankin and David Simpson made light of Lisburn’s victory target of 184 in 46 overs against Civil Service North after a rain interruption at Wallace Park while Ballymena found it just as easy at Moylena where they restricted Muckamore to 156 for eight in their vain pursuit of 255 in 40 overs.

Inter-pro squads: North: A White (captain, Instonians), P Connell (CIYMS), C Dougherty (Brigade), P Eaglestone (Strabane), N Jones (Civil Service North), R McCann (Instonians), B McCord (CIYMS), N McDonnell (Strabane), J Shannon (Instonians), P Stirling (Middlesex), S Thompson (Limavady), C Young (Sussex).

South: T Johnston (captain), B Ackland, J Anderson, A Cusack, A Eastwood, T Fisher, J Mooney, C Mullen, A Poynter, E Richardson, M Sorensen, A van der Merwe.

Belfast Telegraph

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