Derriaghy duo among four new selections in Knights' line-up
There will be no fewer than four debutants in the Northern Knights team for tonight's Twenty20 inter-provincial against the North West Warriors at Strabane, including two from Derriaghy.
Captain Craig Lewis and slow left armer Curtis Moorhead will have the honour of being the first to represent the Queensway club in the NCU's senior side in a game which also sees call-ups for Carrickfergus opening batsman Michael Gilmour and Lisburn bowler Mark Berry.
With both the T20 and 50-over Cup competitions already won by Leinster Lightning, the Knights selectors have opted to give the newcomers a chance to "showcase their talent".
Unlike the Warriors, they have also decided not to select club professionals, while Phil Eaglestone and Nathan Smith have both been saved for the three-day Championship match between the teams, starting at Comber on Monday.
The Warriors welcome back Ireland internationals Craig Young, from injury, and Stuart Thompson, after his time-out, in an almost full-strength side which features West Indian professionals Oraine Williams and Danza Hyatt. The teams also play at Waringstown on Sunday in the penultimate game of the inter-provincial Cup and all four of Knights' new faces keep their place.
There are also two Premier League games on Sunday but Lisburn will play CIYMS without Berry and the Civil Service North-North Down goes ahead without opponents Shane Getkate and Jacob Mulder respectively.
It is a big weekend for CIYMS - possibly the first of many - as they find themselves bottom of the league table with only one win from their first five games. They have three games in hand on Derriaghy and played one less than CSN, the teams immediately above them, but captain Nigel Jones will be desperate to get points on the board as quickly as possible to avoid any embarrassing flirt with relegation.
They also have the disappointment of last week's Challenge Cup final defeat to get over tomorrow when they host Carrickfergus, who beat joint leaders Instonians last weekend.
It promises to be just as tough for the Shaw's Bridge side when they host North Down, fresh from their league win over Waringstown last Sunday.
That result was reversed in the Twenty20 semi-final on Tuesday but Instonians are likely to need a much improved performance - only skipper Nikolai Smith scored more than 30 versus Carrick - against a North Down team which is assured of a fast start if Daniel Graham stays any length of time and a big finish if Pieter Malan can bat the majority of the innings, which he has been doing quite often this season. A win would seem imperative to stay top as Waringstown should triumph at Derriaghy.
Tonight's inter-pro teams: Warriors: A McBrine (capt), S Thompson, C Young, D Rankin, R-L Dougherty, J Robinson, D Scanlon, O Williams, D Hyatt, R Hunter, A Gillespie, W McClintock.
Knights: L Nelson (capt), M Berry, S Bunting, A Dennison, S Getkate, M Gilmour, C Lewis, C Moorhead, G McCarter, R McKinley, J Mulder, Nik Smith
Teams for Sunday, Warriors: As above except A Austin, R MacBeth and R Allen for Hunter, Gillespie and McClintock
Knights: As above except J Shannon (capt) and G Thompson for Bunting and McCarter
FIXTURES Tonight (5pm): North West Warriors v Northern Knights (Strabane)
Tomorrow (11am): Ulster Bank Premier League (Civil Service North v Lisburn, CIYMS v Carrickfergus, Derriaghy v Waringstown, Instonians v North Down. Sunday: Civil Service North v North Down, Lisburn v CIYMS
Section One: Donaghcloney v Armagh, Downpatrick v Academy, Lurgan v Muckamore, Saintfield v Ballymena, Woodvale v Bangor.
Section Two: Cregagh v BISC, Holywood v Cooke Collegians, Millpark v Templepatrick. Sunday: Holywood v BISC, Cliftonville v Dundrum, Templepatrick v Laurelvale
Section Three (12pm): Ards v Victoria, Donaghadee v Larne, Dungannon v Monaghan, Dunmurry v Newforge. Sunday: Don'dee v Monaghan, Larne v Dunmurry