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Warriors dealt a blow by Porterfield switch



William Porterfield

William Porterfield

�INPHO/Alex Davidson

William Porterfield

William Porterfield is the latest Ireland international who will miss the bulk of this season's inter-provincials for the T20 Blast, having agreed to become an assistant coach with his former county, Warwickshire.

Paul Stirling, his long-time opening partner, Andrew Balbirnie, his successor as Ireland captain, and Gareth Delany have already signed to play in the Blast - which gets under way on Thursday - and now North West Warriors will lose their most experienced player, although he should be available for their last two 50-over games against Leinster Lightning in the last week of September as they follow the completion of the group games in the county competition.

Porterfield spent seven seasons as a player with Warwickshire so the county know what they are getting from the deal, which was brokered by Niall O'Brien, his former international team-mate, who also negotiated the moves for Balbirnie and Delany.

Porterfield was top scorer for Warriors in the opening T20 game against Northern Knights last week but now he will not be available for their second game, against Lightning at Pembroke on Thursday.

Before that, the Lightning squad are in Comber today for their second game, against the Knights (3pm), with George Dockrell, who missed their opening day victory against Munster Reds, back in charge, replacing Balbirnie.

The addition of their regular captain is the only change to the 13-man squad - Delany, now at Leicestershire, also drops out of proceedings - for the first clash of the season between the teams who are expected to dominate the two inter-provincial competitions.

Civil Service North opener Marc Ellison replaces Stirling in the Knights squad, which is also expected to have David Delany available after he failed to arrive in Bready last week.

Meanwhile, holders Brigade and rivals Donemana have been kept apart in the semi-finals for this year's North West (T20) Senior Cup.

Donemana have home advantage against Coleraine but Brigade, chasing a hat-trick of Senior Cup titles, must travel to Bready for their encounter this coming weekend.

All 15 senior teams have semi-finals to look forward to on Saturday with their finishing positions in the four groups deciding what competition they would be participating in.

Semi-final draws in full:

Senior Cup: Donemana v Coleraine, Bready v Brigade

Faughan Valley Cup: Newbuildings v Eglinton, Killyclooney v Fox Lodge

Sam Jeffrey Shield: Ballyspallen v St Johnston, Bonds Glen v Burndennett.

Eric Cooke Cup: Ardmore v Strabane; Winners play Glendermott in the final.

Belfast Telegraph