North West Warriors have named a full-strength squad for their first home inter-provincial Championship defence, against Leinster Lightning at Bready, starting on Monday (11am).

Ireland Test captain William Porterfield, Boyd Rankin and Stuart Thompson, available for the first time since he injured his shoulder in training for the first one-day international of the season against England six weeks ago are all named.

It is only the second time that the three current internationals will have played together – the first was at Pembroke in the drawn game against Lightning at the start of last season – and the selectors have also chosen to play two professionals again, Coleraine all-rounder Graham Hume and Ballyspallen wicket-keeper batsman Brendon Louw.

This is Leinster’s last match before Nigel Jones takes over as head coach at the T20 festival next weekend, so they have kept the same squad that won the one-day game between the teams at Bready last month, with the exception of the injured Stephen Doheny who is replaced by The Hills opener Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin.

The return of Rankin and Thompson means there is no room for Kyle Magee, who hit a promising 26 in the Warriors rain-ruined Championship opener against Northern Knights last month, while Marcus Poskitt, Adam McDaid, Aaron Heywood and Gregory McFaul all drop out of the squad.

But coach Ian McGregor takes that as a positive, and considering Andy Britton is again unavailable, there is now serious competition for places.
"That's obviously a positive sign because it lets people see the standards we have set and what it takes to get into the panel,” said McGregor. “There will be established players not getting into the playing XI and that's something we didn't always have."

While Lightning can name eight contracted Ireland players, only Andrew Balbirnie and Kevin O’Brien and possibly skipper George Dockrell are holding down regular places so although it is red-ball action next week, Simi Singh, Lorcan Tucker, Peter Chase, Tyrone Kane and Barry McCarthy will not want to waste the opportunity to impress Ireland head coach Graham Ford and his selectors.

All three games in the White Horse T20 Blast went ahead last night but there was no play in the NCU, with the two dead rubbers in the Lagan Valley Steels T20 Cup between Lisburn and Carrickfergus and Muckamore and North Down both abandoned.
All four teams failed to reach the semi-finals.