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North Down in groove for final reckoning

By Ian Callender

North Down and Instonians will be seeing a lot of each other over the next month.

On Sunday they booked a date in the ClubTurf Ulster Cup final, the day after they meet in the second league match of the season between the teams at Comber on August 20.

Tonight, they are in another cup final, when they clash at Shaw's Bridge in the NCU Twenty20 Cup showdown (5.45pm).

The game is a repeat of the 2009 decider, when North Down had home advantage and went on to win the cup.

Instonians gained their revenge in the Challenge Cup final the following month, but since then it has been a story of dominance by the Comber side, including the league clash at tonight's venue just a fortnight ago when the home side were bowled out for 108.

Captain Peter Shields admits North Down are in a good place at the moment - chasing a sixth successive win in all competitions.

"I'm particularly happy that we have chased down 230 in both games at the weekend. We haven't had a lot of chases in the last couple of years but we can now go either way, bat first or second and if we can sort out the bowling - there have been too many extras and four-balls - I'll be even happier," said Shields.

Gavin McKenna, one of the guilty bowlers, is out for the next fortnight with a back injury and with Andrew Sutherland and Johnny Terrett also on the sidelines, youth are getting their fling and are taking their opportunity.

Alistair Shields (17) scored his first senior century against Carrickfergus and Peter Eakin (16) changed the course of the Ulster Cup semi-final at Limavady on Sunday when he took the wickets of Stuart Thompson and professional Adnan Akmal straight after drinks.

Another youngster, Scott Irvine, has been added to the panel for tonight's game after Daniel Graham's inclusion on Sunday.

Instonians have added Rory Sheard to the team that beat Waringstown off the last ball in their Ulster Cup semi as they look to win the Twenty20 Cup for the first time.

Belfast Telegraph

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