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Balbirnie earning stripes as Wolves skipper

Lead man: Andrew Balbirnie
Lead man: Andrew Balbirnie

By Ian Callender

Andrew Balbirnie will lead the Ireland Wolves in their five-match one-day series against Bangladesh 'A', starting next Wednesday.

Balbirnie has been identified as William Porterfield's likely successor when the Ireland skipper steps down, so the games against strong opposition will be more valuable experience for the 27-year-old Dubliner.

Nine other senior internationals are included in the 16 names with Barry McCarthy, when free from Durham commitments, sharing the opening bowling duties and George Dockrell coming in for young Pembroke leg spinner JJ Garth, who has been selected for the first three games after a successful Wolves tour in Scotland earlier this month.

James McCollum, Shane Getkate and Harry Tector all retain their places from that squad, along with internationals Tyrone Kane, Andy McBrine and Lorcan Tucker, while Stuart Thompson and Simi Singh are also named in all five teams, along with the fit-again James Shannon.

Graham Kennedy gets a call-up but North West Warriors team-mate Aaron Gillespie is overlooked and will have to make do with a place in the Academy squad which plays a four-day game against the Future Stars, at Belmont, from next Monday.

The Wolves will also play three T20s against Bangladesh 'A' after the one-day series and that squad will be named next week.

The one-day games are on August 1, 3 and 5 (at Oakhill), 8 (The Hills) and 10 (Clontarf).

Wolves squad: A Balbirnie (capt), D Delany, S Getkate, T Kane, G Kennedy, A McBrine, J McCollum, J Shannon, S Singh, H Tector, S Thompson, L Tucker, JJ Garth (3 games), G Dockrell (2), B McCarthy (2), P Chase (3).

The Ireland Under-17s drew their two-day game with Worcestershire Academy in Stourbridge yesterday, with Mitchell Thompson and James Hunter seeing out the last 10 overs.

After opener Marcus Poskitt had scored 75, the visitors lost their last seven wickets for 26 runs to surrender a first-innings lead of five and the Academy set Ireland 282 in 50 overs for victory. They were on course at 171-3 with 14 overs left but they shut up shop after losing two wickets in four balls, finishing on 213-5.

The Emerging Knights played two games against the Leinster Bolts on Sunday and Monday with Muckamore's Sam Gordon scoring 51 and 53.

Mark Adair hit 88 in the first match but didn't bowl and took no part in Monday's game at Phoenix Park, while Peter Eakin took 4-34 in the second game which the Bolts won by 133 runs.

The first game at North County was much closer thanks to Carrickfergus' Alex Haggan who hit 53 from No.9 in a last-wicket stand of 38 but was dismissed three runs short of victory.

Ballyspallen are the only Ulster team left in the National Cup after beating St Johnston by 99 runs in Sunday's quarter-final. Darnell McCallum hit 123.

Donemana II will host Muckamore II in the Ulster Plate final on August 19 after bowling out Ardmore II for 49. Chris Neely took 5-5.

Belfast Telegraph


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