Western Warriors to tour Ireland
The Western Warriors will travel to Northern Ireland next week to take on the Northern Cricket Union's Northern Knights in a three-game challenge series as part of both sides' preparations for their upcoming domestic seasons, the Warriors for the Scottish Regional Series and the Knights for the Irish Inter-Provincial Series.
The three-match series will feature two T20s and a 50 overs-a-side match, all played at Instonians Cricket Club's "Shawbridge" Belfast ground, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the 25th and 26th of April.
Warriors Manager Colin Mitchell, looking forward to the three-match series, notes, "This trip will throw some new challenges at our group. Unfamiliar venues and opposition always test individuals' and a team's abilities. We have a young squad and this opportunity will provide valuable white-ball cricket while giving the group an extended period together allowing team growth and development. We are grateful to our hosts for the opportunity."
Commenting on the challenge series, Toby Bailey Cricket Scotland's National Performance Coach, says, "These pre-season fixtures between the Western Warriors and the Northern Knights will provide both teams a chance to test themselves before their domestic campaigns start. It is clear to see that the Warriors have strengthened their squad with exciting new additions from their system. Con de Lange has been working hard with the squad over the last couple of years, and now the young players coming through are beginning to contribute at a higher level. I am sure the matches will bring the best out of the Warriors and we are looking forward to seeing winning performances from the players. The Warriors will be looking to stamp their mark on the Regional Series this season and this early opportunity in Belfast will give their players and team a great platform for success in 2017."
Featuring in the Warriors squad are a number of players involved with Scotland Under 19, Development XI and A squads. With this in mind, Gordon Drummond, Cricket Scotland's Performance Pathway Manager, commented, "It great to see the Western Warriors creating alternative playing opportunities leading into the 2017 Regional Series. The Inter-Provincial sides in Ireland will always provide a strong challenge to our Scottish teams, the match against the Northern Knights is a good opportunity for the Warriors coaching staff to continue to measure their progress over the last few years. One of the key aims of Cricket Scotland Performance Pathway is to develop more training and playing experiences at all levels, challenging players to produce winning and significant performances. Hopefully these cross-border relationships will continue to develop to open up further future opportunities."
The Warriors visit to Belfast is also warmly welcomed by the Knights, Coach Simon Johnston talking about the upcoming fixtures commenting, "We are delighted to be hosting the Western Warriors for three pre-season games. One of my main objectives coming into the role this year was to create more playing fixtures not just for the Knights but for the emerging players as well. The games enable those on the fringes an opportunity to showcase their skills and hopefully break into the senior ranks. These fixtures are ideal and hopefully will become an annual event with us playing the Warriors home and away. A massive thank you must go to Keith Young and Con de Lange from the Warriors for all their work in making these fixtures happen. Also to Instonians Cricket Club and Shawsbridge for agreeing to host these important games so early in the season."
Echoing Simon's comments, Northern Cricket Union Chairman Alan Waite sees co-operation between the two regional sides as a positive influence for Northern Knights cricket, stating, "It is a great opportunity to develop links with the Western Warriors in Scotland. In this exciting season for Irish cricket with the establishment of a First Class regional competition it is imperative for the future development of the Northern Knights to create additional cricketing experiences for our players. This will be mutually beneficial for both teams and it is a venture that we hope to expand over the coming seasons for all age levels."
Tuesday 25 April, "Shawbridge", Belfast: T20 1 – 11am start
Tuesday 25 April, "Shawbridge", Belfast: T20 2 – 5pm start
Wednesday 26 April, "Shawbridge", Belfast: 50 overs-a-side – 11am start
R Berrington, M English, R Henry, F Jawad, R Lyons, I Malik, A Sabri, O Shah, A Shakoor, N Smith, J Snyman, H Tahir, C Young