Two decades ago, Bangor were the champion team in the Northern Cricket Union and Lurgan were winning the Challenge Cup. Tomorrow, at Upritchard Park, they will contest the Junior Cup Final (11am).

It could be said it is case of how the mighty have fallen, but loyalty is a priceless factor in cricket clubs and the Lurgan team will feature four of the players who enjoyed the glory days at Pollock Park.

Peter Maxwell, Stephen Johnston, Stephen Chambers and Paul Stafford have stuck by the club through thick and thin and according to Stafford, who can proudly boast that he is the oldest player in the league, they have come out the other side.

“I’m upbeat about the future, we are still unbeaten in Section Two and really hoping we can get promoted at the end of the year,” said the 58-year-old, still bamboozling opponents with his spin bowling..

”The cup final will be a nice distraction, it’s 21 years since my last one, so that’s something I didn’t expect to happen again.”

His last final was the 2002 Challenge Cup decider at Stormont against North Down which, because of bad weather, was reduced from the then customary two-innings game to one, a forerunner to what would happen permanently five years later.

“Peter (Maxwell) played in our back-to-back finals in 1995 and 1996, but I missed those games although it is my second Junior Cup final, I played for Lurgan II in 1994 against North II. I’m hoping the result will be different this time.”

Stafford says it was a combination of circumstances that led to Lurgan’s fall from grace – they were relegated for the first time in 2007 and apart from a couple of one-season returns they have been outside the top flight ever since, with the low point coming with relegation to Section Two in 2018.

“The demographics have meant that Waringstown village is now a lot bigger, nine of our players live in Waringstown, it’s difficult competing with such a big club just three miles down the road,” he says.

“There was an emergency meeting at Lurgan to discuss our future, talk of dropping our seconds team, there was even talk of a merger with Victoria but, fortunately, it never happened.”

Stafford, who played for Ulster Schools before going onto captain both the Irish and British Universities sides and played for Ireland under 23s back in the day, insists things are looking up.

“As well as our experienced players we have Johnny Hunter back playing with us, Jack Maxwell, Peter’s son, Adam Johnson, Darish Nazari, Jack Harrison, the son of former Waringstown player Shane, and a few younger ones coming through,” he said.

Could a Junior Cup win be the the revival of a famous club?