Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Irish cricketers not out - again

Peter Johnston, Ireland’s video analysis technician, Paul Stirling and Phil Eaglestone smile through the rain at a sodden Clontarf

The Ireland players were stuck in the pavilion again yesterday as, for the second time in five days, their Friends Provident Trophy clash was abandoned without a ball bowled.

The Leicestershire players were happy to hang around Castle Avenue for most of the day, keen to follow up their victory on Tuesday against Worcestershire, but after a day of steady drizzle the captains and umpires shook hands just after 3.30pm with hope and time having run out of even getting in a 10 overs match, the minimum for an FPT game.

By then the Ireland selectors were already in conference and they emerged to announce an unchanged squad — it would have been harsh to drop anyone for sitting in the wrong position in the dressing room for two matches — for tomorrow’s game, back here at Clontarf, against group favourites Nottinghamshire.

They also selected the squad of 13 for next week’s away games against Hampshire and Worcestershire and although not officially announced, Trent Johnston and Peter Connell seem certain to join the travelling party which leaves Dublin on Sunday.

Johnston, one of Ireland’s full-time contracted players, has been itching to return to action after missing the entire Friends Provident Trophy campaign so far with the injury he picked up at the World Cup Qualifying tournament in South Africa, but National Coach Simmons insisted on taking no chances with one of his star all rounders with the World Twenty20 coming up next month.

Connell, North Down’s opening bowler, was rested for last Sunday’s game at Eglinton, against Hampshire, but that has now turned into a three-game break, because of the weather. Simmons will be hoping his strike bowler will be firing on all cylinders when he turns up at the Rose Bowl on Monday.

Waringstown’s James Hall and Strabane’s Phil Eaglestone are the likely players to make way which will be particularly unlucky for Eaglestone. The Nottinghamshire game starts at 10.45 tomorrow morning.