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Club Profiles 2021 - Woodvale CC

Ollie Thorpe
NCU Media & Communications Officer

Woodvale captain Stephen Bunting says that his side can compete in the Premier League this year after an "eye-opener" of a campaign in 2020.

The Ballygomartin Road outfit finished sixth in the Robinson Services Cup last summer and were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Lagan Valley Steels T20 Cup.

Speaking of the new season, Bunting said: "2020 was enjoyable given the pandemic but was an eye opener for those who haven't played in the league since Woodvale's last stint there. I'd spoken about the void between the leagues and was backed up in a constructive way, leading to the new structure and attitude by all to training. With the new players included this season, I'd hope for a mid-table finish with competition in every single game we play. I think a cup run is well within our grasp too."

Woodvale have recruited well over the winter, bringing in the experienced duo of James Hall from Waringstown and Ruhan Pretorius from North Down. Hall has a wealth of experience at Premier League level having left The Lawn as the Villagers' top run-scorer of all-time. Pretorius was a stellar performer at The Green for a number of years.

"Bringing in James and Ruhan was an experience move," said Bunting. "They are working with each member associated to their skillset – it's great to have James bowling and working with Harry Warke. Ruhan is working with each player and helping game plans. I don't have greater expectations than previous clubs from them as I know the talent and wealth of experience they have will look after themselves."

Woodvale begin their season this weekend with a trip to Belmont to face defending Lagan Valley Steels T20 Cup champions CIYMS. Bunting is aware of their talents and the threats that they pose.

"CIYMS is always a tough game, with a plethora of skilled players in their ranks. It's a game that we're looking forward to. You have to show fight and determination against these teams and I know our squad are up for this."