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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
World Cup fever grows in Ireland
By John Haughey

Boyd Rankin
Rankin bowling in the nets during practice in Guyana

Work on the Rankin family farm in Bready will once again grind to a halt on Friday afternoon when Ireland face England in their opening Super 8 match at the World Cup.

It's been a busy few weeks on the Rankin farm what with the lambing season and trying to get the myriad of other tasks done in between watching son and brother Boyd star in the West Indies.

Boyd's father Robert played for the county Londonderry-based Bready club right from the early days of the outfit and the Ireland bowler's younger brothers Robert and David and sister Jemma also represent the club.

"In this household, it's farming and cricket. The cricket is the only break we get from farming so it's very important for the family," says Boyd's mother Dawn.

Dawn is actually nursing a broken arm at the moment after falling during last Friday's Ireland v West Indies clash.

"We had brought my mother-in-law home for the day from her nursing home to watch the game with the family and when I was bringing her back, I slipped and broke my arm.

"So I missed the last hour of the match because I was at Altnagelvin (Hospital) getting my arm seen to."

But despite Dawn's unlucky break, she has refused to let her spirits be dampened ahead of Friday's clash against England.

"In the local area, even people who don't really bother with cricket are watching the games. Everybody is talking about it."

He's been able to chat away to all his friends through his lap-top which he brought to the West Indies

Dawn Rankin

The six-foot seven inch paceman has kept in regular touch with home throughout the tournament.

"He was on the phone last night wondering how the bit of building work that is been done on the farm at the moment is coming along," Dawn told BBC Sport on Wednesday.

"He's very interested in what's going on at home and he's been able to chat away to all his friends through his lap-top which he brought to the West Indies.

"But he's really enjoying himself. There has been a bit of a break before the England game but he's the kind of fellow who is able to keep himself occupied."

Dawn revealed that Boyd has needed some physio treatment for a side strain over the last few days but suffice to say, he'll be available for the big game.

Rankin has already secured a contract with Derbyshire for next season after being on Middlesex's books for a couple of summers.

Boyd's mother says that Mike Hendrick's guidance has vital to her son's career and that relationship should be further strengthened over the coming season as the former England paceman is Derbyshire's bowling coach.

But Rankin will hope to claim a few more wickets in the Caribbean over the next few weeks before linking up with his new county team-mates.

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