PARKER’S PRIDE

BANGOR captain Jonny Parker has said that a win in Saturday’s Junior Cup Final would be “something we’ll all look back on when we hang the spikes up.”

The Seasiders skipper and his 1st XI colleagues face Lurgan in the showpiece this weekend, with the clash taking place in familiar surroundings at Upritchard Park.

“It will be an immensely proud day,” said Parker, whose Bangor team booked their place in the final after a dramatic semi-final victory against Downpatrick earlier this month.

“One of the only positives from relegation last season was the opportunity it afforded to play in what is an historic and prestigious competition, the Junior Cup.

“Thinking back to the golden summer of 2004 when the club had its most successful season, the 2nd XI’s Junior Cup success sat very proudly alongside the 1st XI winning the Premier League (then section 1),” he continued. 

“It’ll be an immensely proud day to captain Bangor at a home cup final. Bangor Cricket Club has some of the finest and dedicated volunteers in local sport and to have a day like a Junior Cup Final at your home ground is an occasion that rewards all the efforts that go on behind the scenes.

“As soon as it was confirmed, we used the location of the final as real motivation to do all we could to try and be a part of that occasion,” added Parker.

“Taking the field just before the beginning of our semi-final, the last thing I reminded the team of was how a home Junior Cup Final will be something we will look back on when we hang the spikes up.”

The overarching highlight from Bangor’s cup run to date is undoubtedly the run chase that saw them triumph over a strong Downpatrick side in the last four of the competition. But Parker is all too aware of the danger posed by Lurgan, and will be taking nothing for granted in what is set to be a tough assignment.

“To chase down 173 in 28 overs on a slow outfield against a good Downpatrick bowling attack is something I look back at with great pride, and special mention must go to Andrew Kirkpatrick on what was a special innings,” Parker reflected.

“Lurgan are a team we know well and have had many very close games with in recent years. They are coming into the final in great form and have beaten some very good Junior 1 sides on their journey.

They’re quite an experienced side with good options with bat and bowl, and will no doubt come into Saturday feeling confident.”

Parker also spared a word for Bangor’s thriving youth section, and harbours hopes that this weekend’s final will act as encouragement for the club’s young members that they too could one day get to experience the likes in the future.

“The proudest commodity we have at Bangor is undoubtedly our youth section,” he said.

“In the past few years, it has gone from strength to strength, and to have a showcase final such as the Junior Cup played at Upritchard Park will hopefully further encourage these talented youngsters to continue their journey within the sport and inspire them to play in such occasions themselves.”