Coleraine skipper David Cooke believes the omens are good for Coleraine’s future as he prepares to lead the Firsts into their biggest game in recent history.
For many years the club toiled in the lower echelons of North West Cricket. But the hard work of developing their own players in the recent players is now bearing fruit and Cooke believes victory over Waringstown in Sunday’s Ulster Cup final can be the springboard to even more success.
“The family support and facilities at the club are amongst the top in the country,” he told Times Sport.
“Playing Waringstown is a massive opportunity for us as a club to prove we’re good enough. We have nothing to lose!
“The competition in the club should motivate everyone to raise their game. Coleraine is passionate about cricket and we have to show that to everyone else.
“Playing at The Lawn, Waringstown’s home ground, on the back of their Senior Cup success over the weekend, is a great place to start.
“Our bowling has been fantastic this year, it is with the bat we need to step up.
“This is a fantastic opportunity. The odds may not be in our favour but anything can happen on the day.”
Heading into Sunday’s final however, they are very much the underdogs.
“Waringstown is a tough match, they’ll be very hard to beat. Along with Instonians and North Down, however, theirs is the template Coleraine is aiming for,” said Cooke.
While Waringstown boast of Obus Pienaar, a brutal batsman and five cricketers with international experience, including Kyle McCallan, Coleraine ooze talent themselves.
Davy’s brother Gordon is a former Ireland all-rounder himself and in Niall McDonnell and Roy Silva they have immense quality to combine with several of the leagues most exciting talent.
‘Cookie’ also has an Ireland cap to his name – and it a widely held view that he should have had many more – being one of the finest crickets in the region for over two decades. Everything isn’t plain sailing however and there are factors affecting development throughout the North West. Often there quality has led to lop-sided league encounters.
“One-sided games mean some players are off form, but it’s our job to ensure we’re ready for battle,” he added. “North West cricket has been struggling for some time so it would be great to put the whole region back on the map.”
The club is also in a state of transition. With the demise of Limavady CC, various talented cricketers have made the trip over the hill to Coleraine. Gareth Burns’ (originally of the Nedd) has shown his talents by his superb performances for the North West Warriors in recent weeks.
With such a vast array of talent at the club, Cooke has urged greater cohesion as the club field four mens teams every week.
Problems although these may seem, they reflect the issues that afflict successful clubs. Just as one should not complain that their wallet is too full, Coleraine cannot bemoan their large talent pool or their dominance over other teams in the league. They are vying to be champions of Ulster, after all.