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Junior Cup Final - Match Preview 2
The battle between the in form batsmen of Laurelvale and the wicket taking depth of Lisburn Seconds' bowling will be a key factor of Saturday's GMcG Junior Cup.
Lisburn Seconds will have the home advantage of Wallace Park (11am) but it will mean little if Laurelvale captain David Sinton and the hard hitting Adnan Malik continue their cup form which has seen them each reach scores in the 80s and 90s. And in addition Malik has hit two league centuries, one of them a towering 196 not out.
However, Lisburn's march to the final has been led by their bowlers., particularly Calum Atkinson, Richard Simpson, Richard Booth and Eddie Kyle. Their combined efforts ensured comfortable wins over North Down Seconds (8 wickets) and Senior League sides Drumaness Superkings (50 runs) and Cooke Collegians (6 wickets).
In the early rounds Laurelvale had easy passages over CSNI Seconds (6 wickets) and Ards (172 runs) but the semi final against neighbours Lurgan was a narrow three run affair.
The cup is open to teams in Sections 2 and 3 of the Senior League and the top tier of the Junior League which comprises 2nd X1 teams of leading senior clubs.
Both David Sinton and Gavin McGill spoke to Johnny Morton ahead of Saturday's big game.
David Sinton, Laurelvale
On trying to win the Junior Cup for the first time since 1966: "It's our first appearance in a final since the club won the Junior Cup in 1965 and 1966, slightly before our time! It's great for us to have to opportunity to play in the final and it's a competition we have been trying so hard to win over the last few years. We have had some excellent performances against good sides to get here and fought really well in the semi-final at Lurgan. It would be great to go one step further and bring the trophy home, but we will go on Saturday with no pressure and look to enjoy the occasion and hopefully play to our potential."
On his own form and Adnan Malik's superb season: "Adnan has been a superb all-round addition to the club. Not only on the field but also using his experience off the field at practice sessions, helping the players and passing on advice. On the field he has performed superbly with bat and ball. His batting has been immense and that's been our platform regardless of setting a target or chasing one. Personally, it's been a great help to me and I've really enjoyed some of the partnerships we have had. It's a lot easier to come in with a foundation set rather than coming in after a few early wickets, so hopefully that will continue on Saturday."
On Lisburn II as opponents: "Obviously we don't play each other very often so it's partially a step into the unknown for both teams. They are unbeaten in the longer format of the game this year and are in fantastic form beating Cooke Collegians in the semi-final who are one of the top sides in Section 2. Looking at their results they have a range of different players performing each week so they have a lot of depth and options. We are under no illusions that they are a very strong side and will be very keen to win the trophy at their own ground. Any final is a tough game but it's all about who performs best on the day."
Gavin McGill, Lisburn II
On the key to this season's success: "We've had a relatively settled side this year which has helped us maintain momentum as the season has gone on. Our bowling has been our main strength and we have a good balance of seam and spin in the attack. The bowlers have been aided by tight fielding leading to sustained pressure making it difficult for opposition batsmen to score and ultimately give their wickets up. It may sound basic, but we've held the vast majority of our catches too which makes a big difference."
On Lisburn's record in the Junior Cup: "There's always a buzz and a sense of excitement when the first Junior Cup fixtures are announced. It's a great competition and one Lisburn take very seriously. The support we've had all season has really spurred us on and it would be so pleasing to repay that support by bringing the Junior Cup back to Lisburn after winning it last in 2016."
On the form of Glenn Halliday and his squad in general: "Glenn has been very consistent all season. He's someone we can rely on and can bat around. He also brings a tactical mind which has been invaluable at times in the field. Hopefully he can carry his good form into the final. Everyone has chipped in with key performances at one point or another with bat and ball demonstrating the depth in our squad."
On playing a final at home: "It's very special to be able to play such an important match at Wallace Park. Knowing the final would be played at home gave us a goal to strive for which has only intensified as the competition has progressed. It's a real privilege to play in such a great setting on an excellent surface. We're extremely lucky to have such a committed groundsman and Dean and his team always have the place in tip top shape. I'm sure there will be great support on the day which will no doubt give our guys great confidence."
Both finalists have named squads of 13.
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