ANDREW Hammond and his Portadown players will be hoping for derby delight tomorrow (Saturday) against a Laurelvale side boosted by the status of last season’s championship glory and this season’s capture of Gary Murphy from the town outfit.
Murphy’s previous Section Two appearance in a match between the sides resulted in defeat for Portadown on the day Laurelvale wrapped up a share of last season’s title glory. However, Murphy posted 71 runs during his fine individual knock, adding to a strong appearance in the previous derby clash.
This weekend’s fixture list has provided Murphy with a chance to make a first Section Two knock for his current club against his former.
“We know how talented Gary is and the problems he caused Laurelvale in the past playing for Portadown,” said Hammond. “However, he will always be welcome around Portadown.
“Obviously, this weekend our goal is to cut his innings short, along with his team-mates, although one of the main strengths in the Laurelvale squad is the batting depth down the line.
“It is not just a case of putting your efforts towards getting out one or two key players, with Laurelvale you need to focus practically on the full side.
“That is the challenge but, from our viewpoint, we can welcome back some strong players and should be able to field our first-choice bowling attack for the first time this season.
“James Edgar’s shoulder injury is not as bad as we initially felt and we can also welcome Simon Caddell back into the panel following his return from America.
“We must look on the match as an opportunity to prove our quality and, if we play to our potential, I have every confidence in the ability on the books.
“Drainage issues at Chambers Park have forced us to reschedule our ‘home’ games for alternative venues this season, hence playing Laurelvale in a derby but at Templepatrick’s ground in Ballyclare.
“It seems strange but that is the reality of the situation and Templepatrick provided the best available option.”