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Villagers still on right track despite Irish Cup defeat, insists Thompson


Greg Thompson
Greg Thompson

By Ian Callender

As Waringstown skipper Greg Thompson was quick to point out after the match, either Shaheen Khan was going to win his third successive Irish Cup winners' medal or nine of the Waringstown team.

Cruelly for the Villagers, who had to give up their South African professional last year because he no longer plays first-class cricket, it was Shaheen who was celebrating, this time with Pembroke as the Dubliners won the All-Ireland trophy in their first appearance in the final.

A century and three wickets from the their former team-mate made the man of the match award a formality, but it wasn't a day for regrets from Thompson, rather praise for a home-grown side and a time to look forward after a record five successive finals for Waringstown.

"I don't see why this has to be the last of our run," said Thompson. "We have lost only two games in the last five years, both finals. We were more competitive when we lost to Merrion (in 2016) but we bounced back and won two more.

"We'll see how we go over the winter. It's inevitable that one or two will step away but what we don't want is three or four guys stepping away all at once.

"It's an amateur sport and Pembroke can be very proud it is not just local guys but home-grown guys who have won the cup, 10 home-grown boys and a professional but that is a model everyone should be striving for.

"We've still some league cricket to play but it will not impact on where we finish, but it might be a chance for some of the younger guys to put their hands up and ready for next year."

Reflecting on the final, when Waringstown conceded the second highest total in the Irish Cup showpiece, Thompson admitted it was always going to be a tough ask to replace the injured James McCollum.

"You can't say it would have made the difference considering the margin of victory but it disrupted our team," said the skipper. Kyle (McCallan) hasn't batted at three all year, so we felt by moving only one, the reset could stay where they are most comfortable. Kyle is the man for the big occasion, but it wasn't his day, it wasn't our day."

After a one-day break, Thompson joins up with Northern Knights this morning for the final inter-provincial Cup game against North West Warriors at Eglinton (10.45).

SQUADS - North West Warriors: A McBrine (capt), R Allen, D Barr, A Gillespie, G Hume, G Kennedy, W Porterfield, D Rankin, D Scanlon, W Smale, S Thompson, C Young.

MTB Northern Knights: G Wilson (capt), H Tector, M Adair, J Cameron-Dow, M Ellison, M Foster, S Getkate, J Manley, J Mulder, R Pretorius, N Rock, G Thompson.

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