The world No 1-ranked team are coming to Belfast next June. Cricket Ireland announced yesterday that Australia will play William Porterfield’s side at Stormont in the RSA ODI Challenge on Saturday, June 23.
It will be the Australians’ first game in Northern Ireland for 11 years and is a chance for Ireland to avenge their defeat at Clontarf last year when, despite scoring 80 off the first 10 overs, chasing 232, the home side collapsed to defeat. The game will take place just six days after the tourists arrive in the UK for a five-match one-day series against England. They will have one warm-up game, against Leicestershire on June 21, before they fly into Belfast the following day.
National Coach Phil Simmons is already looking forward to the game which promises to be the highlight of Ireland’s fixture list next season.
“It’s fantastic that we’re taking on Australia on home soil again,” he said. “We had a wonderful opportunity to beat them in Dublin last year but let the game slip. I know just how much that defeat hurt the players, so it’s great to get another chance to play them.
“As a coach and a player, these are the sort of fixtures that you thrive on, and with the backing of the crowd in Belfast, we’ve a genuine chance of pulling off another famous win.”
In 2001, Ireland played Australia in the last ever international at the old Ormeau ground but rain washed out the game at lunchtime. Matthew Hayden was 52 not out in the tourists total of 86 for one from 23.4 overs.
Andrew White, winning his 16th cap that day, is the only player still in the Ireland team.
Meanwhile, there will be an All-Ireland Junior Cup next year with only the final composition of teams to be decided.
The plan is for the tournament to be run parallel with the Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup with 32 teams competing, so all the remaining teams in NCU Section One — minus the two taking part in the senior competition — and North West Senior 2 should be involved.
The NCU board have already agreed in principal and the North West will discuss it at their pre-AGM executive next month.