Cricket: Drummond face Rush in National Cup decider

Drummond opening batsman Andy Christie.
Drummond opening batsman Andy Christie.

Drummond and Rush do battle in the final of the National Cup on Sunday at Strabane (11:45am).

Both sides have a number of experienced performers in their ranks and it promises to be a pulsating encounter.

This is the fourth year of the competition, and sees the first appearance in the decider for both teams - although Rush reached the final of the Irish Senior Cup in 2002 and 2006.

Drummond all-rounder Chris Moore said the Roe Valley men were really looking forward to the contest.

“Winning the league and getting Drummond back into the top flight of North West cricket was top of our agenda since April however to be able to close the season with a National final is just fantastic for the club,” said Moore.

“We’ve worked hard this summer but just as importantly we’ve had fun too. That’s how we’ll be approaching the final this weekend as well- play hard, play fair and enjoy the day.”

Moore is one of a number of former Limavady players in the Drummond ranks, including former Irish Cup winners Andy Christie and Richard McDaid. Former Irish international McDaid has missed the last month through injury, but returns to action on Sunday.

“On the team front Richard McDaid returns after injury and that’s a terrific boost. He’s a quality player and while he might not bowl on Sunday he will be fit to bat.

“Kyle Morrow and Neal Stewart return to the side as well having missed last week’s final league game so we’re at full strength.

“Obviously that’s very important for us as I expect Rush will be a quality outfit. I played against them several times while I was at Limavady and although things will have changed a lot since then, I see a few familiar names still on their list, including a couple of former North West professionals.

“All we can do is concentrate on our own game however and keep doing what we’ve done all year. That, and maybe the rub of the green here or there could help put the icing on what has been a fantastic season for Drummond.”

Rush too are at full strength for the showdown, and the side on paper has a very balanced look with a nice blend of youth and experience.

Niall Mullen and skipper Alan Butterly are both survivors of their 2002 Irish Cup final loss to Malahide, while Shahid Iqbal also played along with the pair in their agonising one wicket defeat by Railway Union in 2006.

Iqbal and Saadat Gull will be well known to the North West side, having had stints as professionals at Glendermott and Strabane respectively.

Club professional Lynal Jansen has been with the club for 8 seasons, and is a former captain of Paarl in South Africa. He will open the batting with teenage prodigy Stephen Doheny, who is captain of the Ireland Under 17 side. Other youngsters in the side include all-rounder Dean Brogan and Daniel Coffey.

All-rounder Eoghan Conway is a former Irish youth international, who also captained Dublin University, while Allan Eastwood is a former Irish opening bowler,while Eoin Sheehan is a talented wicket-keeper/batsman.

“It promises to be a fascinating encounter and one which the whole club is really looking forward to,” said a club spokesperson.

“We have a number of all-rounders which gives our captain Alan Butterly plenty of options. There’s plenty of experience in the ranks who relish the big occasion, and at the same time a number of youngsters who bring energy, excitement and enthusiasm.

“This competition has energised the clubs below Premier level and it’s been a great experience playing against clubs from other regions. It’s certainly boosted our season, and hopefully we can sign off the season with a trophy.”

Play at Strabane on Sunday gets under way at 11.45am.

Drummond: Stevie Moore (captain), Chris Moore, Andy Christie, Richard McDaid, Kyle Morrow, Neal Stewart, Michael Lynch, Simon Dunn, Adam McDaid, Jamie Millar, Damien Carlin, Johnny Martin.

Rush: Alan Butterly (captain), Lynal Jansen, Stephen Doheny, Dean Brogan, Shahid Iqbal, Saadat Gull, Eoghan Conway, Alan Butterly, Niall Mullen, Allan Eastwood, Eoin Sheehan, Daniel Coffey, 12th man James King.