SION VOW TO BATTLE BACK AFTER VANDALS' ATTACK

So often when Irish International cricket is in the news the story of the win against the West Indies at Sion Mills is the one all the media want to talk about.

Despite this week bringing Ireland's historic Test debut, the Tyrone club are currently battling against the odds to stay afloat and this weekend they were targeted once again by vandals.

Their playing stumps were burnt and the damage extended to windows being broken and paint thrown over the front of the changing rooms.

It's nothing new for the beleaguered volunteers at the club and skipper Simon Galloway said that they would continue the battle to ensure that cricket would survive in the village.

"You do get tired of it but they can't be allowed to dictate to us" he began.

"We've been down this road so many times before but the fact that this happened around lunchtime on a Friday shows the contempt that these people hold for property."

"Ironically we had to borrow stumps at the start of the season and we had just bought these new ones. They tried to set fire to more than just the stumps but thankfully one of the local neighbourhood watch team noticed the smoke and called for the fire service straight away".

"Police forensics arrived too and we've been told that they were able to make good inroads into finding out who did it."

On the field the Sion skipper said that it had been an in-and-out start to their league season in Qualifying 1.

"We've won 1 and lost 2 so far. We only had 9 players against Ardmore but really pushed them all the way despite that."

"I wasn't overly concerned at not being able to field XI that week- it was just we had so many lads missing for various genuine reasons on the same day. It happens, especially in cricket which is a full-day sport so I'm confident we'll be back to full strength next time."

These have certainly been testing times for Sion Mills but we can only hope for their sake that they can start to turn the corner soon.

A club with proud North West roots and records is just too valuable to lose from the region.