WARINGSTOWN have been kicked out of the NCU Challenge Cup for playing an ineligible player in their victory against Derriaghy on Saturday.

Jonny Bushe, the former Ireland international wicket-keeper who had not played for the 1st XI since 2016, was forced into action because of injuries to first choice gloveman Marcus McClean and his young deputy Sam Topping.

Unfortunately for Waringstown, who won the Cup as recently as 2018, Bushe was registered to play this season on June 17 and only players registered by May 31 were eligible to play in this season’s cup competition which made a belated start last weekend.

Bushe, who played 29 times for Ireland between 1998 and 2004, reached the cup final with Waringstown in 2014, when they lost to Civil Service North but is a three-time winner with the traditional cup kings, in 2006, 2011 and 2013.

He agreed to help out the club because of the finger injuries to the club’s other two keepers, having played only one previous match this season, for the 3rd XI a fortnight earlier.

Bushe played again on Sunday as Waringstown retained their position as co leaders of the Premier League table with victory over defending champions CIYMS and took two catches behind the wicket, but there is no early registration required for league games so he can continue to play in the competition for as long as he is required.

Waringstown, like all the other Premier League clubs who faced Section One opponents in the Cup, raced to a comfortable victory – with Bushe not required to bat – but, as per the official statement from the Northern Cricket Union last night, “Waringstown is therefore deemed to have lost the match and Derriaghy has been reinstated”.

As a result, Derriaghy will join Cregagh, who defeated Muckamore in the only all-Section One first round tie, in tomorrow lunchtime’s quarter-final draw.