CIYMS show plenty of early promise in Ulster Bank Premier League cricket
CIYMS flexed their muscles on the opening day of the Ulster Bank Premier League, showing off their all-round strength to justify their position as title favourites.
Two of their three big-name signings made significant contributions as they defeated Civil Service North, winners of two cup competitions last season, by the impressive margin of 102 runs
Former North Down slow bowler James Cameron-Dow took five wickets for just 12 runs and his Ireland A team-mate Johnny Thompson finished with three for 39 as CSN were bowled out for 133.
The one signing who didn't get into the wickets column was Nigel Jones, the long-time skipper at Stormont, but he had earlier hit two sixes as CI ended with a flourish, 79 runs coming off the last eight overs.
The innings of the day, though, came from Chris Dougherty who may have failed for Ireland A in their game at Lord's last week but he was much more comfortable at Ireland's international venue, compiling the first century of the season.
Dougherty was out to the last ball of the innings for 121, having hit 11 fours and two sixes, and ominously for the rest of their Premier League opponents, Rassie van der Dussen, last year's batsman of the year, scored only 38 in CI's 235 for four.
Both batsman were victims of Mansoor Amjad who made an encouraging start as CSN's new professional, taking three wickets and then scoring 47 off 63 balls from No 6. More worryingly for the home side, only one other batsman, Regan West, got past 20.
CI go to Comber next Saturday where the runs should flow again. North Down and Ballymena shared 560 of them on Saturday, no mean achievement in April but that may say more about the weakness of the bowling attacks rather than the strength of the batting.
Only 11 wickets fell as North Down posted 301 for six, Daniel Graham top scoring with a run-a-ball 90; he was actually first out after a partnership of 149 with Andrew Sutherland (57).
Taimur Khan, Peter Eakin, Peter Shields and Scott Irvine then all enjoyed themselves at the end as North Down scored 82 off the last seven overs.
New Ballymena professional Azeem Ghumman took one for 45 in his 10 overs and then hit 73 off 97 balls with just six fours but the acceleration never materialised and it was left to Steve Lazars, with 91 off 84 balls (10 fours and four sixes) to get Ballymena to within 42 runs of their target.
James Shannon (87 not out) and Andrew White (51 not out) eased defending champions Instonians to a seven wickets victory over Lisburn at Wallace Park, after early strikes by Dean Simpson and Darryl Brown had brought them together much earlier than they would have wanted.
But 144 runs later, they had passed Lisburn's 168 for seven, White and Shannon also sharing four of the wickets.
Waringstown go to Shaw's Bridge next Saturday in the game of the day but it will be their first of the season after water got under the covers and postponed their game at Carrickfergus.
In the North West, last year's top two Strabane and Brigade find themselves bottom of the table after the opening games, losing to Ardmore and Donemana respectively in exciting finishes.
But there will likely be a protest from Strabane as Ryan Gallagher hit two sixes off successive balls - the second off a free hit - but apparently only one was recorded by the scorers. The final margin was three runs!
Twelve runs separated Brigade and Donemana at Beechgrove when Andrew Britton holed out on the boundary to give the visitors victory. Junior McBrine, who announced his retirement from 1st XI cricket at the end of last season scored 19 not out!
Coleraine bowled out Eglinton for 148 with the Chopra brothers sharing seven wickets and Kyllin Vardhan then hit 66, as they hurried to a seven wickets win in only the 26th over.
Bready bowled out newly promoted St Johnston for just 64 for a crushing 217 runs success.
Ireland are tipped for World Cup reprieve
Cricket Ireland’s chief executive has confirmed that the team’s performance in Australia and New Zealand has made the leading cricket nations think again about the structure for the next World Cup.
Warren Deutrom told the annual meeting in Dundalk that Ireland’s victories over West Indies and Zimbabwe had “changed the goalposts” and the fact that the ICC Board met last week and did not announce a 10-team World Cup, as agreed before this year’s tournament, gives him hope that the format could yet be changed.
“Many of the Full Members think it should still be a 10-team tournament but more now agree that they should be held to account and there is the possibility more Full Members may have to qualify or a preliminary round could be included, similar to the World Twenty20,” he said.
“ICC management are looking at various options and a decision will be taken at the next Board meeting in June,” said Deutrom.
CI chairman Ross McCollum added: “TV rights have been sold (based on a 10-team tournament) and it might be legally difficult to unpick, so there is no guarantee of any change but it has certainly made them think.
“Our performance (this year) has made a difference,” McCollum added.
Deutrom also said that much work is going on behind the scenes with Ireland attempting to create their own Future Tours Programme (FTP) and there are plans for 12-15 games a year from this autumn.
The CEO also told the AGM that the shortlist of five to replace Phil Simmons as National Coach has been reduced to two. They will be interviewed this morning.
The new president of Cricket Ireland is Dr Murray Power.