Photo Credit: Sportsfile
Rario has been announced as the title sponsor for the 2023 Inter-Provincial Series, as the four squads and fixture schedules have been confirmed today. The competition gets underway on Monday, 15 May 2023 when reigning Inter-Provincial Cup champions, Munster Reds, host North West Warriors at The Mardyke in Cork.
The Inter-Provincial Series is the peak domestic men’s cricket competition in Ireland, which takes a best v best approach in supporting the pathway to the national side. All matches will be livestreamed in full on ICC.tv and livescored on the Cricket Ireland Match Centre.
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In 2022, the Munster Reds broke through and won their first inter-provincial title – the (50-over) Inter-Provincial Cup, while Leinster Lightning held off the Reds double ambitions to claim their seventh (T20) Inter-Provincial Trophy.
Munster Reds will have a new head coach for the 2023 season after former Irish international Jeremy Bray replaced Ted Williamson over the winter.
MEET THE SQUAD – LEINSTER LIGHTNING
Simi Singh (North County), Andrew Balbirnie (Pembroke), Lorcan Tucker (Pembroke), Harry Tector (YMCA), George Dockrell (Phoenix), Tim Tector (YMCA), Greg Ford (Balbriggan), Gavin Hoey (Dublin University), Barry McCarthy (Pembroke), Fionn Hand (Clontarf), Reuben Wilson (YMCA), Josh Little (Pembroke), Mikey O’Reilly (Dublin University), David O’Halloran (Malahide), Phillipe le Roux (Railway Union) Adam Rosslee (YMCA), Amish Sidhu (Phoenix), Mark Donegan (The Hills), Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin (The Hills), Jack Tector (YMCA).
Nigel Jones, head coach of Leinster Lightning, said:
“I’ve been really pleased with our preparations to date. I certainly can’t fault the lads in terms of their effort and commitment this winter. We also had a number of lads that were away playing club cricket in the Southern Hemisphere and in Asia this winter period, which has been great for them and their development.
“We’re always keen to try and push those opportunities for our players as much as we can. You couple this with the guys that are away representing Ireland throughout the winter and it means we have a fairly large number of guys active, either from a playing point of view or a training point of view, which is good. It helps us form some decisions coming into springtime and given the restructuring business of the Inter-Pro squads and players out playing in other teams as well, it’s important that we’re quite clear from our point of view who we want to back and put time into.
“But in saying that it’s important to cast the net wide, and there’ll be some really close calls on players, so we don’t want to be too restrictive in this winter phase in terms of who we have involved. So that’s been pleasing to be able to invite guys into our environment, see how we operate, and to try and get some sort of match up going there throughout training.
“In terms of the coaching, I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I feel very privileged to be able to work with talented young cricketers within our Lightning environment. We’ve seen many changes throughout my time. Going into my fifth season we’ve gone from having red ball cricket, COVID for a couple of seasons, restructuring distribution of players across other teams, and now we probably face another challenge in terms of some of our Ireland boys being unavailable during, fixtures this season.
“I try and create an environment where we look at what we can control and not get too hung up on what we can’t. Players trying to be as clear as they can about where the games are at and what they need to do to work on things, to try and get some improvements and ultimately be able to therefore turn that into performances when they get on the park, whether that be in their club environments, Future Series environment, or the Lightning team.
“We also have a number of guys that play in the Ireland set up and we’ve seen their development within the last three to four years as well, and it’s been really pleasing to see them go on and contribute for Ireland. And also, whenever they’re back playing for the Leinster Lightning team, that the other guys that are leading the way and the younger blokes are able to learn off them. We’re at a stage now with the restructuring that we’re looking at a far greater pool of players within Leinster, and that can only be a good thing.
“I think ultimately when you talk about goals and expectations, you jump straight forward to the headline stuff in terms of winning trophies, and that’s going to be no different again this year. We want to make sure we play our best cricket – game in, game out. Obviously, there’ll be a mix of experienced and newer blokes again, but there will be plenty of chances for the younger guys in and around the fringes to get opportunities this year. It’s important that they take those opportunities, and training’s been pretty clear around putting time and confidence into their games and make sure they’re clear when opportunities come that, you know, it’s just another game of cricket.
“As a coach, it’s finding that balance between opportunities for some younger guys and also making sure that we’re out in the park winning games of cricket as much as we can, and representing a proud province which I know the boys are all very keen to continue to do.”
MEET THE SQUAD – MUNSTER REDS
Tyrone Kane (Phoenix), Murray Commins (The Hills), Curtis Campher (YMCA), Gareth Delany (Leinster), Michael Frost (Malahide), Matt Ford (Malahide), Liam McCarthy (Railway Union), PJ Moor (Clontarf), Ben White (CSNI), Brandon Kruger (Cork Harlequins), Matthew Weldon (The Hills), Alistair Frost Malahide), Finn Catherwood (Beaconsfield) Muzamil Sherzad (North Kildare), Cormac Hassett (Cork County), Byron McDonough (Cork County), Ryan Joyce (Cork Harlequins), Ryan Karanukaran (Buckhurst Hill CC and Loughborough University).
New head coach of Munster Reds, Jeremy Bray, said he’s looking forward to getting the season underway:
“Training has been pretty quiet but consistent over the winter as the majority of the players have been away overseas.
“Regarding expectations, it really depends on the availability of our best players as I would imagine it’s the same for the other provinces. In saying that, with a number of players in the Reds squad pushing for Irish squad places, I expect some big and consistent performances especially from these players.
“It’s been fantastic to be involved with players of the calibre that we have in the Reds squad, but the real enjoyment will be when we have a full strength squad at training every week and on match days.”
MEET THE SQUAD – NORTH WEST WARRIORS
Andy McBrine (capt) (Donemana), Ani Chore (North Down), Raymond Curry (Bonds Glen), Stephen Doheny (Merrion), Liam Doherty (Eglinton), Michael Erlank (Eglinton), Shane Getkate (Instonians), Graham Hume (Waringstown), Ryan Hunter (Newbuildings), Nathan McGuire (Rush), Ryan Macbeth (Brigade), Scott Macbeth (Brigade), Cameron Melly (Brigade), William McClintock (Donemana), Trent McKeegan (Newbuidings), Robbie Millar (Eglinton), Conor Olphert (Bready), Tommy Orr (Eglinton), Gavin Roulston (Bready), Dhram Singh (Ardmore), Jared Wilson (Cliftonville Academy), Josh Wilson (Brigade), Craig Young (North Down).
Boyd Rankin, the head coach of the North West Warriors, said:
“The squad’s been training really well over the winter. We started back in November, training two-three times a week with strength and conditioning sessions as well. I think the lads are in pretty good shape now for the start of the season. They’re just rearing to go. Not only to get on grass, but to get stuck into the games that are coming up over the summer period.
“I’m really enjoying working with this squad, the lads are just so keen to get better. They just want to put a lot of hard work in. That’s the great thing from the coaching point of view, is the guys that are putting in the hard work. It’s showing that if you do put the hard work in that you will hopefully see the rewards off the back of it. It’s a real buzz to see players progress and learn.
“I just want to try and help. They’re just really independent thinking cricketers when they get out there on the park. So as long as I see that progression, and they are continually improving, it doesn’t matter what age you are, you can still constantly look to improve and get better. So I think the attitude from all the players has been really good over the winter. Right now it’s really a matter of keeping that going with the clubs into the Warriors games.”
“In terms of targets for 2023, I think most teams will probably be going out to try and win both competitions. From a personal point of view, I think as long as the team and the players within it are progressing the way that I would hope, and trying to give the younger players that experience of playing at this level, I think it’ll leave them in good stead in the years to come. At the same time it’ll give those younger guys really good experience. Hopefully they’ll move on and move up the ladder to play for Ireland’s Wolves and then onto the senior Ireland team. From a target point of view, obviously we want to go out and try and win both competitions. But in terms of that player development point of view, just as long as we’re seeing that progression with the players, I think that’s the most important thing.“
MEET THE SQUAD – NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Mark Adair (CIYMS CC) Capt, Ross Adair (CIYMS CC), Max Burton (Cliftonville Academy CC), Cade Carmichael (Instonians CC), Matthew Foster (CSNI CC), Matthew Humphreys (Lisburn CC), Tyron Koen (CIYMS CC),Josh Manley (Lisburn CC), John Matchett (CIYMS CC), Tom Mayes (North Down CC), James McCollum (Waringstown CC), Ruhan Pretorius (Woodvale CC), Cian Robertson (Instonians CC), Neil Rock (Rush CC), Paul Stirling (North Down CC), Morgan Topping (Waringstown CC).
Simon Johnston, the head coach of the Northern Knights, said:
“Training has been going very well, with a new schedule put in place that better caters for the availability of the players – particularly the guys who have full-time jobs or are non-contracted cricketers. The new system this year has ensured all players in both the Knights and emerging squads have had access to multiple training sessions each week over the winter, and we’ve managed to train with members of the senior Irish squad when they’ve been available, which is good for the development of the younger players.
“This will be a different year, in that the contracted lads may not be as available as in the past, due to the heavy senior schedule, so it’s a brilliant opportunity for the next crop of players to stick their hands up and show how good they can be when given the opportunities.
“With the coaching, I’ve loved it as always to be honest. I’ve very thankful to have been involved now with the Knights for over six years, and it’s been exciting along with the help of a large number of people behind the scenes to put a pathway in place for younger players in the NCU to develop into the senior Knights and beyond. One of the most enjoyable things is being able to work with the guys from Under-15s right the way up and watch them grow and learn as players and it’s very satisfying when they kick on and play for the emerging and senior Knights.
“Knights-wise, we have been very lucky to have Ian Butler come on board and be able to assist a couple of sessions a week, which the fast bowlers have loved. James Cameron-Dow has been brilliant as well coming in and helping with the spinners, and the likes of Matty Humphreys has benefited massively from it. Without both their time and expertise my job would be a hell of a lot harder – so, their efforts working with the players are greatly appreciated.”