WARINGSTOWN are still top of the Ulster Bank Premier League this morning but their long-term prospects are more uncertain.

Former Ireland international Kyle McCallan tore his calf and young opening batsman James McCollum split the webbing in his left hand as the league leaders effectively beat Ballymena yesterday with nine men.

With professional Shaheen Khan having returned to South Africa, Waringstown will be desperately hoping that their injured players can make a speedy recovery.

McCallan ruled himself out of today’s Ulster Cup final against Bready but although Phil Eaglestone is due to return for the game on his former home ground, Strabane, McCollum may also have to play as a bowler.

And next weekend they have a huge double header in the league against CIYMS and Instonians, the two teams immediately behind them in the race for the title.

McCallan at least managed to bowl his 10 overs yesterday — he injured himself when going for a quick single as Waringstown chased down Ballymena’s 176 — but skipper Lee Nelson lost McCollum, who was given the new ball, after just seven deliveries, after he fielded a return drive from James Kennedy.

Nelson did incredibly well not only to get through the 50 overs but to bowl out the home side with the last ball.
Ryan Dennison, older brother of Adam, was forced into an opening batting spot on a rare first team appearance and when McCallan had to hobble from the field with the total on 55 and three other batsmen already back in the pavilion, it looked like mission impossible for Waringstown.

But Nelson with a patient 30 and Johnny Bushe with 25 from 39 balls led the recovery which was completed by Davy Dawson’s 61, which included seven fours and a six.

It is a strength in depth which is impressive and no matter what side they put on the field, Waringstown are still the team to beat.