Northern Knights regroup for fresh shot at T20 success
The Northern Knights have been forced to make two changes to their squad for tomorrow's night's Hanley Energy Twenty20 Trophy game against Leinster Lightning at YMCA (5pm).
James Shannon and Peter Eakin both have exams and are replaced by respective club-mates Zach Rushe and Alistair Shields in an otherwise unchanged 12-man squad. The Knights lost their first T20 game of the season against Lightning at Stormont two weeks ago by five runs, losing eight wickets for 44 runs, after an opening stand of 72.
The Knights are also in action on Sunday when they travel to Coleraine for their return 50-over Cup fixture against the North West Warriors. Once again CIYMS professional Rassie van der Dussen is added to the squad.
Saturday is Challenge Cup first round day in the NCU with two all-premiership ties, at Stormont and Comber.
Holders Civil Service North, whose road to Comber last year started with a thrilling one wicket win over Lisburn, will be hoping to have it rather easier against Ballymena, who are still looking for their first win of the season, while Lisburn will start underdogs at The Green which has seen a feast of runs this season - Ballymena scored 259 on the opening day - and more of the same is expected tomorrow.
Ominously for the visitors, new North Down professional Pieter Malan scored 50 in their comfortable T20 victory over Carrickfergus on Tuesday night.
Most interesting game of the round is Waringstown's visit to Junior Cup holders Academy.
The Old Boys enjoyed a stellar season in 2014, also winning promotion to Section One and a place in the Challenge Cup. They certainly could not have asked for a tougher return to the big time, against last year's beaten finalists - the team includes four Knights players - but for those visitors who have not played at the Castle Grounds before they are in for a treat.
Elsewhere, Premier League champions Instonians are away to Lurgan but unbeaten CIYMS must sit out Saturday's action as they await the winners of the delayed preliminary round game between Donacloney and Cliftonville. Carrickfergus host Downpatrick, who were one of the few teams to defeat them last season.
In the North West, it is also first round day in the Senior Cup with the pick of the ties the Limavady Road derby between Brigade and Glendermott.
Northern Knights (to face Leinster Lightning tomorrow 5pm at YMCA): A White, captain, J Cameron-Dow, C Dougherty, P Eaglestone, S Getkate, N Gill, N Jones, G Kidd, L Nelson, Z Rushe, A Shields, G Thompson
Fixtures: Tonight: Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup (6.15pm): Waringstown v Civil Service North
Tomorrow: Ulster Bank Schools Cup second round: Campbell College v Sullivan Upper (2.30pm)
Saturday: Ballyclare High v BRA (9am)
Ulster Bank Challenge Cup (12.00) Preliminary round: Donacloney v Cliftonville.
First round: Academy v Waringstown, Carrickfergus v Downpatrick, Civil Service North v Ballymena, Lurgan v Instonians, Muckamore v Bangor, North Down v Lisburn, Templepatrick v Woodvale
Ulster Bank League Section Two: Armagh v Laurelvale, BISC v Drumaness, Holywood v Saintfield. Sunday: Dundrum v Drumaness (11.30)
Section Three: Ards v Cooke Collegians, Donaghadee v Newforge, Dunmurry v Monaghan, Millpark v Dungannon
Danske Bank Senior Cup first round: Bonds Glen v Donemana, Brigade v Glendermott, Burndennett v Killyclooney, Creevedonnell v Drummond, Eglinton v Fox Lodge, Newbuildings v Coleraine, St Johnston v Ardmore, Strabane v Bready
Sunday - Hanley Energy Inter-provincial Cup (10.45): North West Warriors v Northern Knights.
Ulster Bank League Section One (12.00): Lurgan v Woodvale, Academy v Derriaghy.