Thirty years after making his senior league debut, Neil Doak, the former Ulster rugby coach, has been appointed the new head coach at Lisburn Cricket Club.
Officials at Wallace Park announced his appointment as they confirmed a continuing sponsorship agreement with McLean Bookmakers, Northern Ireland’s largest independent bookmaking chain.
Doak (45) left Ulster Rugby earlier this year after serving for a decade in a variety of roles at the Kingspan. He is now involved with rugby at Queen’s University, Belfast and Campbell College.
But next summer he will be in charge of cricket coaching at Lisburn in a bid to get the club to win back their place in the Premier League.
A club spokesman said they were delighted to have him as their new head coach at a venue where he was just 15 when he made his senior debut. He added: “He is an extremely talented coach and motivator and is hugely respected at Lisburn. He is the ideal appointment to maximise the talent at the club, and we look forward to working with him.”
For many years Lisburn recruited overseas professionals from South Africa, the West Indies, India and Sri Lanka to take charge of coaching, but with Doak free during the summer months, the club decided the time was right to appoint one of their legendary players to a key position.
A spokesman added : “With so many young and up and coming players at the club looking to make their mark, there is no person better qualified than Neil to help them achieve their full potential.”
This is the third year that McLean Bookmakers, who have more than 60 shops, including two in the Lisburn area, have been involved with the club. Managing director Paul McLean who presented the former Lisburn chairman, Dean Simpson with a new sponsorship cheque said: “The appointment of Neil Doak is surely a massive boost. Lisburn cricket club is part of his DNA and hopefully they can look forward to a great season.”