CAPTAIN: ‘Underdog tag suits us’ says Lisburn skipper

Lisburn Cricket Club are all set for the new NCU Premier League season. Tomorrow (Saturday), they host reigning champions Instonians at Wallace Park. The hosts' Mark Berry (right), however,  will not feature. Pic: Rowland White / Presseye
Lisburn Cricket Club are all set for the new NCU Premier League season. Tomorrow (Saturday), they host reigning champions Instonians at Wallace Park. The hosts' Mark Berry (right), however, will not feature. Pic: Rowland White / Presseye

As the cricket season gets underway, little is expected of Lisburn.

But perhaps that will suit them just perfectly.

After losing star man Craig Ervine, who impressed at the World Cup for Zimbabwe, the Wallace Park side are being perceived as a wounded animal.

For a team going into the unknown, they’ll have a baptism of fire tomorrow (Saturday), as they host defending champions Instonians. Skipper David Simpson is hoping the lack of expectation on his charges will work in their favour as they look to prioritise the area’s budding stars.

“We know that it’s going to be difficult but going in with the underdog tag often suits us,” he said.

“We made a conscious decision as a club that, whenever Craig left, we would move forward with young, local guys and see where it takes us. Craig was a big influence in the team but if we don’t give these local guys a chance, the sport can’t grow and it will die.

“Other clubs will have their views on that and will go their own way. Some clubs have spent massive amounts of money but we’re going to go down the local route.”

Teenage spinner Aaron McKeown is one of those set to make his debut on Saturday having impressed in the club’s warm-up matches.

“Adam took four wickets in a pre-season game so hopefully he can build on that,” said Simpson.

“There are a couple of young guys who have come into the team already. Adam Berry is a good batsman and a very good fielder too but he has unfortunately broken his ankle and will be out until mid to late May.”

The Lisburn lads will have to hit the ground running to get any reward from Saturday’s game but Simpson isn’t ruling anything out.

“We are hard to beat at Wallace Park,” he said. “We know that and they know that. We’ve beaten them at home in recent seasons.

“They have no apparent weaknesses in their team. They’re usual pro hasn’t been able to come over but they’ve flown in a West Indian so they’ll be tough to beat.

“The cricket journalists seem to be tipping us to finish sixth and I think that’s fair. It’s a season of consolidation of us. There is so much money being spent at the top so, particularly without Craig, it would be tough for us to break in there.”