Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Nelson is wary of a potential cup shock

Perfect start: Lee Nelson has enjoyed two wins from two games as Waringstown captain

Lee Nelson has two wins under his belt as captain of Waringstown and tomorrow he leads the joint NCU league champions into their annual pursuit of the Irish Senior Cup.

He has a lot to live up to with the Villagers having at least reached the quarter-finals in five of the last six years, and in 2011 they were the only club outside Leinster to win the cup in the last 10 years.

It would appear a straightforward start this time, with a home tie against newly-promoted Terenure, but try suggesting that to Nelson and you get a swift reply.

"You will not get me admitting that," he says. "They still have dangerous players, including Dave Langford Smith (one of Ireland's World Cup heroes in 2007) who has returned from Australia and is bowling as well as ever."

The south Dublin side may have lost their captain, Ireland A player Tom Fisher, on the eve of the season but Nelson – "you have to do your homework" – noted their performance against Civil Service North in a pre-season friendly.

Although Waringstown have started the season with two wins, Nelson believes there is plenty of room for improvement.

"We are still looking for a big partnership. Batsmen are getting to 30 or even 50 and then getting out and against North Down last Saturday, we scored only 30 runs in the last 12 overs which is criminal.

"We have also struggled to take early wickets which would take the pressure off our spinners so while it's great to have won the first two games, I'm still looking for the perfect performance," added the new captain, who has to follow former Ireland skipper Kyle McCallan in the role.

Nelson, though, did admit he expected Waringstown to be involved at the business end of the Irish Cup.

"We can compete as well as anyone, especially at home. It has been disappointing that we have reached a couple of semi-finals in recent years and didn't show up but we should be in the mix again this year against the usual suspects.

"Merrion have been in three of the last four finals and reached the quarter or semi-finals for the last six and will be dangerous opponents again.

"Clontarf will be keen to hold on to their trophy and The Hills, YMCA and North County always have to be respected, while anyone who has to travel to the North West will have a hard game to negotiate.

"But that's what the Irish Cup is all about and why it is such a great competition. There's always one or two big games in every round."

Saturday's fixtures (12.30pm): RSA Irish Senior Cup first round: (In North West) Bready v Ballymena, Brigade v Phoenix, Coleraine v CIYMS, Eglinton v North Down, Fox Lodge v Leinster; (In NCU) Civil Service North v St Johnston, Lurgan v Strabane, Muckamore v Merrion, Waringstown v Terenure; (In Leinster) Clontarf v Lisburn, North County v Ardmore, Pembroke v Cork Harlequins, Railway Union v Instonians, The Hills v Glendermott, YMCA v Downpatrick; (In Munster) Cork County v Donemana

RSA National Cup (12.30pm): (In North West) Ballyspallen v Malahide, Killyclooney v Rush, Drummond v Bangor, Burndennett v Woodvale; (In NCU) Carrickfergus v North Kildare, Templepatrick v Mullingar, Derriaghy v Creevedonnell, Cliftonville v Bonds Glen; (In Leinster) Dundrum v Holywood, Laois v Sion Mills, Balbriggan v Newbuildings

Ulster Bank League Section Two (1pm): Academy v Drumaness, Armagh v Saintfield (12.00), Cooke Collegians v BISC, Donacloney v Laurelvale, Millpark v Victoria

Section One: Dundrum v Templepatrick

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