First serious test for CIYMS
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
CIYMS face their first serious test of the season today when they travel across the city to Shaw’s Bridge to face an Instonians side which should be serious contenders for the Ulster Bank Premier League crown.
With no disrespect to Civil Service North, the all-star CI’s’ opening day opponents last week, they were under-strength and not expected to make a dent in the Belmont’s side armoury. Instonians, by contrast, are at full strength and enhanced from the team which finished in a disappointing fourth place last year.
This term, captain Eugene Moleon still has the strongest looking top four in the NCU and to that he can add Aussie quick Mick Delaney, who is also, apparently, a useful bat – likely to slot in before Moleon at No 6 – and although unlikely to reach speeds of 90mph which he regularly attains on the fast pitches in Adelaide, he is certain to cause problems for the opposition batsmen.
Today he comes up against fellow country-man Jeremy Bray who, five years ago, scored a century for Ireland at the World Cup finals. Last week Bray top scored, with 82, at Stormont, an innings which proved to be a match-winning one because Ireland A player Chris Dougherty, former North Down professional Taimur Khan and Zimbabwean PJ Moor all made false starts to their CI careers. Along with Kiwi Barry Cooper they will be keen to get their season up and running, although Delaney promises to give them another testing examination.
Their top order batting will be compared to the Instonians front five which boasts internationals Rory McCann and Andrew White, A-team captain James Shannon and representative team-mate Ben Wylie plus John Stevenson who, after his back problems last year, will be hoping to regain his 2010 form when he was the club’s top scorer.
The bowling attack will miss Sam Shannon, who is at university for the next three weeks, but as well as Delaney, Richard White, brother of Andrew, should strengthen the attack with his medium pace and Zach Rushe, the left arm spinner from Bangor, ensures a second quality slow bowler at Shaw’s Bridge this year.
This will be Instonians’ first league game of the season, after their game at Carrickfergus was postponed last week, but Moleon says everyone is ready and raring to go. “We would have liked to have had a game under our belts before facing such a strong team as CIYMS but we have to play them sometime and if we do the basics right then I would be confident of a good start,” says the captain, who is also excited by the impact of the club’s new professional.
“Mick has been looking sharp in practice and he is going to be good for us. He has obviously learnt a lot from (South Australia) state cricket and he is helping the batsmen as well as the bowlers. He is a good signing.”
Elsewhere, defending champions North Down will not have new professional Gayan Wijekoon for their opening match, at home to Carrickfergus. His visa application is in and they are hoping he will arrive next Thursday. Meantime, South African Francois Hassbrook, currently in England, will fly in for today’s game.
Lisburn professional Darryl Brown and Zimbabwean Nathan Waller will both be in the line-up for their attractive opening game, at home to Waringstown, while the two defeated teams from last week, Civil Service North and Ballymena, meet at Stormont.