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New schedule will help Ireland stars ahead of Super League: Holdsworth


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With no prospect of 50-over club cricket until later in the season, Cricket Ireland yesterday issued a revised fixture list for the Inter-provincial Cup, with the first match in just three weeks' time. (stock photo)

With no prospect of 50-over club cricket until later in the season, Cricket Ireland yesterday issued a revised fixture list for the Inter-provincial Cup, with the first match in just three weeks' time. (stock photo)

With no prospect of 50-over club cricket until later in the season, Cricket Ireland yesterday issued a revised fixture list for the Inter-provincial Cup, with the first match in just three weeks' time. (stock photo)

With no prospect of 50-over club cricket until later in the season, Cricket Ireland yesterday issued a revised fixture list for the Inter-provincial Cup, with the first match in just three weeks' time.

Leinster Lightning and North West Warriors, which was originally the last game at the end of August, will now start the season on Saturday, May 1 at Pembroke, one of six changes which also includes two changes of venue.

Northern Knights will still start their programme against George Dockrell's Lightning in Dublin on May 4 but that game will also be played at Pembroke, rather than YMCA as originally planned.

All four games scheduled for July and August have been brought forward and the last game in the 50-over Cup will be between Munster Reds and Warriors on June 15, three days before the start of the T20 Trophy.

Cricket Ireland High Performance Manager Richard Holdsworth said: "This new schedule maximises playing time for our players who will be heading to the Netherlands for the World Cup Super League matches in early June."

With no spectators expected to be permitted, an announcement is due next week that all the games will be live-streamed on the Cricket Ireland website.

The new schedule was released on the day that Cricket Ireland unveiled their Strategic Plan 2021-23 which confirmed that the three white-ball World Cups - the T20s in India this year and Australia next year and the 50-over competition in India in 2023 - will be prioritised, explaining the total absence of the words 'Test match' in the plan.

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Chairman Ross McCollum said: "We still want to be a regular Test playing cricket nation but we have received dramatically less money from ICC, only two thirds of what we were promised (when Ireland became a Full Member in 2017) and that's been reduced again. So we don't have enough money to do everything.

"In the new funding model, beginning in 2023, we will get an increase from ICC."

Ireland are due to play three home Tests next year but McCollum admitted that "three was unlikely".

The main headlines in the Plan are the strengthening of grassroots cricket and women's and girls' cricket and continuing investment in the provincial unions with club cricket still the "core of the sport on the island".

A strong fixture list for the Ireland Wolves and more Northern Ireland-based players in the (women's) Super Series are also proposed plus a pathway programme to provide high-quality development opportunities.

Revised Inter-pro Cup schedule: May 1: Leinster Lightning v North West Warriors (Pembroke); May 4: Lightning v Northern Knights (Pembroke); May 6: Warriors v Munster Reds (Eglinton); May 16: Knights v Lightning (North Down); May 18: Knights v Warriors (Stormont); May 20: Lightning v Reds (Pembroke); May 21: Warriors v Knights (Bready); May 22: Reds v Lightning; May 25: Warriors v Lightning (Eglinton); May 27: Reds v Knights; June 10: Knights v Reds (Stormont); June 15: Reds v Warriors.


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