Ireland players in good form ahead of Scotland clash
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
KEVIN O’Brien is back in county cricket, with Somerset. The Ireland international, still most famous for his 50-ball century against England in the World Cup victory in Bangalore last year, has joined the Sabres for their first five Twenty20 games, starting on Wednesday with the televised clash against Warwickshire.
O’Brien played for Gloucestershire last season but, despite hitting the quickest hundred in English cricket last summer, off just 44 balls against Middlesex, he was not re-engaged.
But Somerset, Gloucestershire’s next door neighbours, yesterday announced that he would be teaming up with Ireland team-mate George Dockrell and, by coincidence, the first four games could have international colleagues in the opposition — captain William Porterfield for Warwickshire, twice, Graeme McCarter at Gloucestershire and Niall O’Brien at Northamptonshire.
Cricket Ireland have, initially agreed to O’Brien’s release for just the five T20 games to be played before Ireland’s ODI against Australia on Saturday week but if he does well, no doubt Somerset will be keen to re-employ him in the following three matches which O’Brien would also be available for, before the two ODIs against Afghanistan at the start of July.
Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose said: “Kevin is a very attractive batsman who can score his runs very quickly and will add to our already exciting batting line up.”
O'Brien will be named tomorrow as vice captain of the Ireland team to face Australia when the 13-man squad is announced at Stormont.
Meanwhile, Ireland A start a three-day international against the Scottish counterparts in Glasgow tomorrow with one late change to the squad. Limavady's Andy Britton has had to pull out because of work commitments and he has been replaced by Pembroke's Allan Eastwood.
Rory McCann heads off in good form with both bat and ball! Although the Instonians all-rounder will be wearing the gloves at Uddingston, he took two wickets for 21 in eight overs in the Ulster Bank Premier League game against Carrickfergus on Saturday.
Chasing 236 for victory, McCann then batted all 49.1 overs, to finish 96 not out and see his side home by five wickets and join Waringstown at the top of the table.
CIYMS made it a three-way tie at the top yesterday with a seven wickets win over Lisburn at Wallace Park. Another all-round display by Taimur Khan (4-30 and 52 not out) saw CI to their victory target of 160 in the 40th over.
In the North West, Donemana followed up their exciting Bob Kerr Irish Cup victory over Coleraine on Saturday by joining the Bannsiders at the top of Senior One with a comfortable 76 runs home victory over Glendermott. It was much more exciting at Sandel Lodge where Donemana took the last six Coleraine wickets for just 17 runs, when the home side needed just 31 from the last five overs.
Trent Johnston, who will lead the A-team attack against the Scots as he gets quality overs under his belt ahead of the Australia game at Stormont, continues to star with both and ball for YMCA. He hit 58 and took three wickets for 10 runs in his side’s five wickets Irish Cup victory over Terenure.
There will be only one game outside Dublin, with holders Waringstown at home to North County after their dramatic victory over Brigade, professional Glen Addicott seeing them home with an undefeated 116, including 10 sixes, five of them in one over by Harry Chappell.
Bob Kerr Senior Cup Quarter final draw: YMCA v The Hills or CIYMS, Waringstown v North County, Leinster or Railway Union v Donemana Merrion or Clontarf v Civil Service North. Games to be played Saturday July 7.
RSA National Cup quarter final draw: Muckamore v Drummond, Galway v Balbriggan, Rush v St Johnston, Sion Mills v Civil Service Dublin.