Belfast Telegraph

Lewers rules out cup comeback

By Graham Hamilton

Annadale won't be springing a suprise by including Irish international Iain Lewers in their ranks for tomorrow's Kirk Cup semi-final against holders Cookstown at Banbridge's Havelock Park (3.30pm).

There was speculation that the talented Ulsterman might be included in their line-out now that he is free from his Dutch club HGC through to the end of February, and also for the forthcoming Anderson Cup ties, as he is eligible for both domestic cup competitions.

But Iain has ruled out that possibility, even though he hopes to be at Banbridge to cheer along his colleagues.

"No, there's no point in me lining out for Annadale at this stage," says Iain, who is thoroughly enjoying the experience in Holland.

"In a few weeks time I'll be off with the Irish squad to Chile as part of our build-up towards the Olympic Qualifier, and there are other build-up games and finally the series in New Zealand in February before I resume at HGC.

"It just wouldn't be fair to nip in and out of the Annadale team and deprive another player who has given full commitment for the season."

The double-header Kirk semi-finals certainly offers a good afternoon's entertainment.

The curtain-raiser at 1.30pm involves Instonians and Lisnagarvey in what is a dress rehearsal for the Podium Premier League clash six days later at Shaw's Bridge.

Both are crucial games - tomorrow's guarantees a place in Boxing Day's Kirk Cup decider and next Saturday's will have a big bearing as they attempt to close the gap on joint leaders Cookstown and Banbridge.

The one major difference between the two games is the absence of the international players tomorrow.

That means Inst won't have Patrick Brown, Mark Irwin and Mark Gleghorne available while Garvey's absentee is Timmy Cockram.

The senior international team continue their mini series against Scotland in Stirling with a game late this afternoon (5pm) and a practice game tomorrow morning (1pm).

International Test: Scotland v Ireland, Stirling, 5pm.

Podium Senior One: Ballynahinch v Belfast Harlequins, Donard Park, Newcastle, 2.30pm; Portadown v Raphoe, Edenvilla, 1pm; Antrim v Down, Antrim Forum, 2.30pm; North Down v Cliftonville, Comber LC, 2.30pm; Civil Service v Newry, Stormont, 2.30pm; South Antrim v Queen's, Laurelhill, 1pm.


Kirk Cup semi-finals (Havelock Park, Banbridge): Instonians v Lisnagarvey, 1.30pm (Umpires, C Hutchinson, D Stewart); Annadale v Cookstown, 3.30pm (Umpires, W McCully, C McConkey).

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