Woodvale

After a ten year absence Woodvale moved back into the top flight in style topping Section One by a three match margin and winning skipper Jamie Gibson will again lead the side in 2020.

The signing of Pat Botha as overseas professional was a statement of intent that their stay in the top flight should be an extended one, but of course the ban on international travel and the shortened season has put those plans on hold.

Former Carrick professional Botha would have had a couple of familiar faces around him at his new club as Jack Burton and Harry Warke have both joined from the East Antrim side.

(Woodvale)

Also making the trip into the north of the city is pace bowler Kyle Walsh who has transferred from relegated Holywood and another seamer, Pavan Kartick moving from Muckamore, who lost their Premiership place in heartbreaking circumstances for them when rain halted their final match at Carrick last September.

Dario Boyce who played last season as an ‘Overseas Amateur’ is not returning this year and with Michael Irwin in Australia for the foreseeable future the club will be relying on Warke and Burton to plug the gap in run-scoring that their absence leaves.

In last year’s promotion season the left arm pace and swing of Stephen Bunting accounted for plenty of Section One batsman and there is no reason to doubt that he will trouble a few in the top fight as well.

He of course sampled the Premiership for a few years in Instonians colours, but was always going to end his days back at his boyhood club.

So plenty of seam options available at Ballygomartin Road but who will replace the off-spin of the missing Pat Botha is a question that may need to be answered sooner rather than later.