NW lads ready to take on the world

NORTH West trio William Porterfield, Boyd Rankin and Stuart Thompson, are hoping to help Ireland cause another major shock when their ICC Cricket World Cup Twenty/20 campaign gets under way in Sri Lanka this morning (Wednesday), against Australia.

Having secured their place in Sri Lanka after winning the ICC World T/20 qualifiers in Dubai, in March, Ireland were handed two tough matches firstly against the Aussies and then against West Indies, nevertheless skipper Porterfield insists they won’t be overawed.

“It’s going to be a big game as Australia are obviously a big cricketing nation and we know it’s going to be a very difficult game, which no one will give us a chance, but you can write us off at your peril,” admitted Porterfield.

“I do know that Australia won’t underestimate us and will have done their home work on us.”

The Killyclooney man, who helped Ireland to a five run win over Bangladesh in their final Twenty/20 warm-up game, in Colombo, on Monday, is more than happy with how preparations have been in Sri Lanka.

“We are in good form ourselves, we have won four out of four and more importantly we have continued to improve in our last four T/20 games,” he added.

“We beat Zimbabwe before that and as I have said each game we have got better and better, which is exactly the way you want to be going into a big tournament, like the World Cup.”

For Rankin, this will be his swan song as he is to end his Ireland career in pursuit of an England call-up after he too signed a new three-year deal with County champions Warwickshire, and because of that he wants to end on a high.

“Hopefully we can get a win against either Australia or West Indies and reach the Super Eight’s, because I would love for my career to be extended for a wee bit more.

“It’s of course going to be a bit disappointing for me finishing my Ireland career, so it would be nice to go out on a high.”

With the pace bowler finishing his career, another North West man is getting his first taste of international tournament cricket and Stuart Thompson just can’t wait for things to get started this morning.

“I’m really looking forward to it and after Monday’s win over Bangladesh, everyone is really up for the Australia game,” he added.

Only a few months ago the Eglinton young man was playing for North West Senior One side Limavady, but a few good performances for Ireland XI against South Africa A just last month has meant coach Phil Simmons drafted him into the T/20 squad.

“Obviously the South Africa series helped me make the squad and now that I’m here I going to give my all, even if I don’t get selected for any of the games, just being around the squad in such a big tournament, will hopefully benefit me in the future.

“I will try my best at practice and see if I can impress, but to get selected for your country in a World Cup is a massive honour, one which I’m very proud off, no matter what happens.”

All the games in the World Cup will be shown live on Sky Sports, with today’s encounter against Australia on Sky Sports 1 from 10.30am, while next Monday’s clash against the Indies gets underway at 2.30pm.

Meanwhile closer to home, Eglinton returned to the top flight after they defeated Glendermott by 49 runs in Saturday’s relegation/promotion play-off, at Burndennett.

While Donemana’s U15 secured the All Ireland title after they beat Pembroke by ten wickets, to continue the success story for the Holm men.