17 July 2008

It promises to be quite a day at Beechgrove on Sunday, the Sperrin Springs final between St Johnston and Bonds Glen gets under way at 11am...

...and is followed by a mouth watering Faughan Valley decider between Brigade and Donemana at 2. And if all that isn’t enough, spectators will then be treated to a 20 over game between Phil Simmons’ Ireland team and a North West overseas XI, that contest due to start at around 5pm.
The Ireland Management Team is using the game as part of the squad’s preparation for the T20 World Cup qualifiers and the team is very near a full strength line-up, whilst the North West side features a fine array of talent from around the cricket world. That match is certainly shaping up to be a bonus for everyone as the Ireland head coach will be getting some tough practice for the forthcoming qualifiers whilst the North West cricket public will have the opportunity to see the best players from all over the country in what should be an exciting contest. The Derry Midweek League are delighted too of course, their big Twenty/ 20 day gaining the recognition and co-operation of the International set-up.
Phil Simmons has chosen this game as he is aware of the quality of the region’s overseas players and is expecting a tough game on Sunday. The North West overseas men are widely regarded as the best in the country and it will be fascinating to see how the likes of Raza, Beukes and Hyatt adapt against International class opposition.
Selectors will choose from- Agha Sabir (Limavady), Glendermott pair Hasan Raza and Aga Wajihuddin, Christian Jonker (Fox Lodge), Eglinton’s Pravajan Mullick, Jonathan Beukes from Strabane and his team mate Rahim Karim, Shahzad Butt (Drummond), Rizwan Aslam (Ardmore), Frikki Holtshauzen (Bready), Hasnan Abbas (Sion Mills), Killymallaght’s Danza Hyatt, Hanif Malik (Creevedonnell) and Ballyspallen’s South African Dirk Marais.
The Ireland squad is Trent Johnston (Railway Union), Andre Botha (North County), Thinus Fourie (Railway Union), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), Kevin O'Brien (Railway Union), Andrew Poynter (Clontarf), Andrew White (Instonians), Gary Kidd (Waringstown), Paul Stirling (Cliftonville), Gavin McKenna (North Down), and Gary Wilson (Surrey).
Obviously, organisers are hopeful that Sunday’s cricket-fest meets with the support of the entire cricket community as this is a very unique opportunity to enjoy such an extensive programme of entertainment.
Admission for the full day is only £5, and as always with the Derry Midweek League, all proceeds will go directly to local charity. There will be plenty of side attractions too, one of which will be a raffle for a variety of cricket memorabilia including a signed West Indies World Cup shirt in what has all the makings of a huge day for local cricket.
The T20 World Cup Qualifiers are in Belfast from August 2-5. Fixture and ticket details can be found on the Cricket Ireland website

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