Alistair Bushe (News Letter)
Waringstown captain Greg Thompson insists his players will be hungry for silverware again this summer, despite last season’s recording-breaking exploits.
The villagers won four trophies in 2017, including the NCU Premier League title and Irish Cup, but the Ireland international insists his squad will not rest on their laurels.
Waringstown have previously found it difficult to follow up big summers of trophy success in 2011, 2013 and 2015, but you get the impression that in Thompson, they have a captain who will push his players all the way again.
“It goes without saying that replicating last year’s success will be very hard but this group of players are extremely hungry,” said Thompson. “They are hungry for success and I still look back at last year as a missed opportunity, losing in the final of the Irish T20 and the one that sticks in the claw the most is the Challenge Cup loss to Muckamore in the first round, and that’s not being disrespectful to Muckamore.
“It’s not going to be a case of us of sitting back and going ‘that was a great year’. Waringstown as a club have a history of success and it’s up to us to ensure it continues this year. We want trophies, we are hungry, we will make sure we work as hard this year, if not harder, to ensure come September we are hopefully celebrating a bit more silverware.”
Thompson is also confident they can cope with the triple loss of David Dawson, Morgan Topping and Jonathan Waite.
“We have the same strong starting eleven as last year, and although some might argue we have lost strength in depth, we have Andrew Mitchell, we have Jack Carson depending on availability from Sussex, we also have Matthew Purse from Ballymena, who has moved to the area and did very well in a pre-season game, albeit on a mat against Muckamore, and then you have guys like Ross Waite and Ryan Dennison who are capable of playing first eleven cricket.
“And then you add in our talented young players who will break into first eleven in the next couple of years. We have lost players but we are club that does produce talent. We have lost three ambitious players but we have others who are ambitious and want to push on.”
Waringstown start their league campaign on Saturday against Carrickfergus at The Lawn, with Thompson expecting plenty of contenders for the league title.
“We have not added to our squad like most teams, most teams have gone out and added to their squad, for us we just want to play well,” Thompson added. “It will be the same teams in there, it will be North Down and CIYMS, Instonians are dark horses and Carrickfergus are dangerous. Civil Service have added well with Morgan Topping and a new pro, they will be dangerous too.”
In Saturday’s other games, CSNI host Instonians in what is always a feisty match-up. New boys Armagh travel to face Muckamore at Moylena.
Thompson also paid tribute to David Holmes, the News Letter cricket correspondent who died suddenly in January.
“We’re all going to miss Holmesy a lot over the summer, he was great to deal with as a captain, you knew you could trust him,” he added.