World Cricket League: Hall anxious for good news from Challenge Cup
James Hall may have more important matters on his mind tomorrow — a possible sixth appearance for Ireland in their World Cricket League clash against Afghanistan — but he will be keeping one ear open for news from Belmont where Waringstown face CIYMS in the semi-final of the Challenge Cup.
Hall has fond memories of cup games against CI. Four years ago the teams met in the final and Hall hit 130 in the first innings — still his highest limited overs score — and was not out in the second, while in last year’s quarter-final he shared an opening stand of 63 as the Villagers won by five wickets.
Already winners there in the Premier League this season, and with captain Johnny Bushe returning from injury with impeccable timing to replace Hall, there will be a confidence in the Waringstown camp that they can reach the last four for the sixth year in succession.
Hall said: “We all enjoy going to Belmont. They have improved this year so it was a big thing to go there and win.
“But we know what they can do and we certainly can’t take them lightly.”
North Down will be hot favourites in the other semi-final, mainly because of home advantage, where they are scoring runs for fun, but also because Civil Service North will be without their captain Nigel Jones, the other international missing the semi-final action.
The Stormont side failed to get past Brigade without their skipper on Sunday and tomorrow they come up against Ryan Haire, the former Ireland international who is looking for a third successive century.
If the home side bat first, it is likely to be another day of chasing leather for their opponents whose best chance is to get first use of the best batting track in the country and hope professional Kieran Noema-Barnett gets a century.
Tomorrow’s fixtures: NCU Challenge Cup semi-finals (12.00): CIYMS v Waringstown, North Down v Civil Service North.
Ulster Bank Premier League (12.00): Carrickfergus v Ballymena, Instonians v Downpatrick, Lurgan v Lisburn.
Section One: Armagh v Dundrum, Bangor v Cliftonville, Holywood v Laurelvale, Saintfield v Derriaghy, Woodvale v Muckamore (Castle Grounds).
Section Two: Academy v Cooke Collegians, Dungannon v Dunmurry, Drumaness v Donacloney, Millpark v Cregagh, Templepatrick v Larne.
Sunday: Premier League (12.00): CIYMS v Carrickfergus, Lisburn v Civil Service North, Waringstown v Instonians.
Section One: Holywood v Armagh. Section Two: Cooke Collegians v Dungannon.