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Familiar ground and opponents for Nigel Jones' debut

By Ian Callender

Nigel Jones' first Ulster Bank Premier League game in 2015 will, once again, be at Stormont but this time he will be emerging from the away dressing room.

A cruel twist of fate, produced by next season's fixture list, ensures there will be no easy 'bedding in' period for last year's Civil Service North captain because his first game in CIYMS colours will be against the team-mates he led for the last eight seasons!

Jones' move down the dual carriageway to Belmont is still the most high-profile move of the winter and it will be a case of all roads leading to the international venue on the opening day of the season (April 25) to see what impact he will make on the square he knows better than anywhere else in the country.

Jones is due to be joined by Johnny Thompson (ex-Brigade) and James Cameron-Dow (ex North Down) in the latest new-look CIYMS line-up, a trio that has promoted the Belmont side to title contenders.

Cameron-Dow will have only one match under his belt before he returns to The Green as North Down host CIYMS on the second Saturday of the season.

The defending champions, Instonians, appear to have a straightforward start to the new season, with a trip to Lisburn who must do without Zimbabwe's recalled Test batsman, Craig Ervine, but that will be only a warm-up for the big match on May 2, when Waringstown, the team who chased the Shaw's Bridge side all the way last season, come calling.

Waringstown open the 2015 campaign at Middle Road against newly promoted Carrickfergus while North Down host Ballymena in the remaining match.

The 14-match programme will end, weather permitting, on September 5, with CIYMS at Carrickfergus, on the same day as Instonians host North Down and Waringstown visit rivals Lisburn.

The NCU have also confirmed that the draw for the first round of the Challenge Cup will be made on January 6, after which there will be a meeting of club representatives to discuss the format for the Twenty20 Cup.

Ulster Bank Premier League - Opening day fixtures: Carrickfergus v Waringstown, Civil Service North v CIYMS, Lisburn v Instonians, North Down v Ballymena.

Belfast Telegraph

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