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Northern Knights win battle to land rising stars Tector and Rock

 

By Ian Callender

Ireland's top two batsmen at the Under-19 World Cup will be playing for Northern Knights this season.

Captain Harry Tector, who was also the leading wicket-taker at the tournament in New Zealand in January, and Neil Rock, who topped the averages from No 6, have not been selected in Leinster's initial squad of 14 and have been snapped up by the NCU franchise.

They are available for all three formats and will make their debut in the Twenty20 game against the North West Warriors at Carrickfergus on Friday May 18. The NCU selectors will confirm their final selection this month with a squad of 22 named to cover all three formats.

Both Tector and Rock were due to play for Ireland Wolves this weekend but the scheduled tour of south west England has been cancelled following persistent rain which left the grounds in Bath and Gloucestershire waterlogged.

Although the four games were all due to be limited overs and only Jack Tector - Harry's brother - and Peter Chase, of the Wolves squad, can expect to be included in next month's Test match panel, it is a further blow in the countdown to the historic match against Pakistan, after only seven of a possible 12 sessions were played in the senior squad's four-day friendly against Somerset last weekend.

Cricket Ireland, however, have moved quickly and announced two two-day inter-squad games.

The games, at Merrion on April 23-24 and Pembroke on April 26-27, will feature contracted and Academy players to give them a chance to force their way into the final Test selection.

"The series will allow players to bat and bowl using the Duke ball, which will be a new experience to most as we have played with the Kookaburra ball at inter-provincial level for the last decade," said CI Performance Director Richard Holdsworth.

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