The Big O - Conor Olphert
Bready remain on course to reach the semi-finals of the senior cup, having recorded back-to-back wins over Tyrone rivals Strabane and Fox Lodge.
They face a crunch game this weekend against a Burndennett side who haven’t managed to play because of the weather since a comprehensive opening day win against the Magheramason side three weeks ago.
One of the reasons for Bready’s revival has been the consistent form of opening bowler Conor Olphert who has impressed many with his speed and accuracy. The 24 year-old has started the campaign well taking five wickets while conceding just 11 runs in eight overs!
“I feel like I've had a very good start to the season, much better than I initially expected with some minor things to work on, but still really glad with what I have produced performance wise so far,” said Olphert.
(Bready speedster Conor Olphert)
“I spent a lot of time on my bowling over the winter working with coaches Ryan Eagleson and Simon Johnston while at Jordanstown and also with The Irish Academy.”
Olphert has just completed the first year of a Mechanical Engineering degree at the Ulster University, having worked for three years at Fleming Agri following school.
The work on his game over the winter has paid off as not only has he increased his speed, but having a repeatable action means his radar is now very much on the stumps.
“I have completed a lot of work on my action as well as core strength to keep me from falling over. Speed wise I was clocked at 84mph one night when they had the speed gun out in Jordanstown.”
With Olphert firing on all cylinders, could this be Bready’s year for a senior cup win, and maybe elevation into the provincial ranks for Olphert?
“My main aim this season would be to win something with Bready. We have a crucial game against Burndennett to come and games at Strabane and Fox Lodge won’t be easy either but we are in pole position at the minute to make the semi-finals.
“From a personal perspective I'm targeting making my debut with the NW Warriors this year and hopefully use that as a launch pad to push on from that.”
The Bready club has a proud history of producing pace bowlers who have won international honours, and if he continues to develop, there’s no reason why Olphert won’t follow in the footsteps of Boyd Rankin and Craig Young.
If he does, there will be no prouder man than his father Mark, who was capped as a batsman back in 1998 against Australia, and who still skippers the Bready Second XI helping mould the next generation of stars.