North West Warriors Head Coach, Ian McGregor has announced that he will be sitting out the 2016 season as a player following a meeting with his club, Brigade, during the past week.
The Beechgrove outfit was aware that their opening batsman had been struggling with injury over the past number of months but said that McGregor still had an important role to play on Limavady Road.
A source at Brigade confirmed that the new Warriors’ Head Coach had met with them recently to discuss the situation and that they were delighted that he was staying on in a coaching capacity.
“Ian has been struggling with a shoulder injury for some time now and that, coupled with his new post, meant that he couldn’t commit to the playing demands that he had set for himself.
“We made Ian Head Coach at the club last year and he is very keen to continue in that capacity therefore he remains an integral part of Brigade CC.
“We’ve had contact from one or two players who are keen to come into the squad for the coming season so there could well be developments in terms of a replacement shortly.
“The club is also in continued negotiatons with our overseas target and hope to have that ratified in the next fortnight as well.”
Warriors man McGregor said that he wasn’t keen to officially ‘retire’ from playing at this point but was looking forward to a new slant on the domestic season.
“The shoulder injury isn’t something that is just going to clear up in a couple of weeks. I have always given my full committment to preparing for each new season and it just wasn’t going to be possible this year,” said McGregor.
“I am however very happy to be staying on as coach at Brigade and will be able to watch matches every weekend this coming summer. I intend to use that opportunity to help develop the coaching role at Interprovincial level as well.”
McGregor is also expected to name his Warriors’ Assistant before the end of the week.
Meanwhile a dramatic collapse saw Ireland slump to a five run loss against the UAE in their second T20 International in Abu Dhabi, today.
Ireland had looked on course for an emphatic win as skipper William Porterfield and Paul Stirling’s boundary blitz saw the opening pair share an opening stand of 61 in just 42 balls as Ireland chased UAE’s total of 133 for 7.
The stand was ended when Stirling (28) was beaten by a seaming delivery from skipper Amjad Javed. Porterfield however, continued in fluent fashion reaching his half century in 41 balls (7 fours) - his third in T20 internationals as Ireland reached 91 for 1 in the 13th over.
However the game swung in dramatic fashion following the dismissal of Stuart Poynter (10) - that sparked a collapse which saw Ireland lose eight wickets for just 35 runs to hand the UAE a quite incredible win.
Porterfield looked as if he might save the day with his highest score in T20I’s - his 72 coming from 60 balls (8 fours, 1 six). However with 13 needed off 11 balls, he was run out by wicket-keeper Swapnil Patil.
Nine were needed off the last over, but Max Sorensen was run out off the first ball, and George Dockrell bowled from the second. That left Boyd Rankin and Tim Murtagh at the crease, and the pair managed just a scrambled bye and a single to complete a superb comeback win for the jubilant hosts.
Earlier Boyd Rankin had claimed 3 for 17 as his impressive comeback continued. The giant paceman gives the Irish attack an extra dimension with his height, pace and bounce and he troubled all the Emirati batsmen.
The squad will now have a week’s break before travelling to Chandigarh for a training camp ahead of their World T20 campaign which starts with a warm-up game against Hong Kong on March 3.