Hope springs eternal
HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL AS A NEW DOMESTIC ADVENTURE BEGINS
We’re on the eve of another new domestic cricket season tonight and despite the bitter cold, this is the one weekend in the whole calendar where all thoughts turn to a bright summer. It is all about momentum at the start of a new campaign and while obviously nothing will be won or lost after Saturday, trends could well be set.
The “hacks” have all had our say about who might win what and while the main trophies in the North West look at the mercy of the Big 3; there are a few in the chasing pack who would take great delight in shooting those predictions full of holes.
It would be no bad thing either because to be perfectly honest we need something to get excited after a less than eventful season 12 months ago. Some truly awful weather was the catalyst for a season that barely sparked into life before choking out completely in a committee room at the end.
It was that kind of year; but that was then and this is now.
There are several things that are whetting the appetite for the months ahead including seeing how Donemana react to the winter that they’ve had. The Holm side are a different kind of beast when they’ve been wounded and Ricky-Lee Dougherty has made no secret of the fact that they’re on the title trail this year more than ever.
Brigade with Danza Hyatt in tow and Coleraine with David Cooke in the middle order won’t take that lying down of course and the Bannsiders also provide the next thing to hopefully get us out of our seats in overseas man, Roshen Silva.
There are some cracking “pros” back in the region this year but Silva could be anything. The 27-year old batsman was included in a practice game this week as Sri Lanka selected their side to tour England but to Coleraine’s delight he wasn’t chosen despite scoring a century!
Silva will land on the north coast on Friday afternoon ahead of the champions’ opening contest at home to Strabane.
Much of the talk last year was how competitive the Championship would be however in the end, Drummond and Fox Lodge had miles of clear blue between themselves and the rest. At the risk of being burnt twice however, this year looks a cracking renewal.
Fox Lodge will be everyone’s favourites based substantially around a top three of Jason Milligan, Brian Allen and Marco Marais. This could well be their year but skipper Allen is right to be wary of the rest as nearly everyone looks stronger this time around.
It really could be a fascinating battle at both ends of that particular spectrum so there will be plenty for spectators to enjoy as the summer unfolds.
I have to say I’m personally looking forward to another season of the Hanley Energy Interprovincials despite my growing reservations of qualification policy. It appeared for all the world as though a resolution was about to be agreed by the parties involved last month however the plan fell at the final hurdle.
The word on the street is that there will definitely be a Munster team in the Interpros in 2017 and that the rules and internal workings of the programme will be re-visited as a consequence. There is terrific scope within the series and the goal of first-class status is hardly forlorn, however there is a huge big elephant in the room and the sooner somebody addresses it the better.
And finally I’m really looking forward to seeing Ireland play both Pakistan and Sri Lanka this summer as well. The International team belongs to all of us and there has been some remarkable progress made even in the past few weeks.
Kudos to Warren Deutrom, Ross McCollum and the Cricket Ireland team whose perseverance is now paying off in spades with the announcement of more high-profile ODI’s in 2017. This is a massive coup for the sport in every corner of the country and hopefully we’ll all be able to reap the benefits.
We should never shy away from acknowledging all the good stuff that is going on above club level any more than we should look to fix the things that need fixed.
And so to one and all as we set out on another adventure, good luck and go well. God knows it’s going to be mental busy keeping up with everything and so to our friends, the scorers, a special salute….