Ulster Bank Premier League: Johnny Terrett is set to return to the North Down team next weekend, fit and raring to go after the freak accident when he broke his hand in three places.
It was in the second match of the season, on May 1, that Terrett fell awkwardly when grounding his bat completing a run and he has had his arm in a sling ever since.
But, two weeks before North Down host the Challenge Cup final, Terrett is on course to return to the team and has told captain Peter Shields he should be ready for next week’s Ulster Bank Premier League game against defending joint league champions Instonians at Shaw’s Bridge.
“I will take his word that he is ready to play again,” said Shields. “Last season only our professional, Iain Robertson, scored more runs than JT and it will be great to have him back for the second half of the season, still with so much to play for.”
Even if North Down manage to complete both scheduled games this weekend, at home to Lisburn tomorrow and against Civil Service North at Stormont on Sunday, the Comber side will still have 10 league games to play plus the cup final against CIYMS on July 30.
Ireland international Peter Connell is also due to return for next weekend’s games against Instonians and Carrickfergus and will definitely be back for the final, but for the next two days it will be the familiar line-up which has lost only one of their first nine NCU league and cup ties.
Although only fifth in the table, they can close the gap on tomorrow’s opponents, leaders Lisburn, to six points and still have three games in hand. And with Terrett still to return, it’s little wonder that Shields fancies his side’s chances of regaining the league trophy.
“It’s a matter of stringing wins together. There will be a jostling for places over the next few weeks and while we have games in hand of the teams above us we have got to win them to maintain our challenge, starting on Saturday,” said Shields.
Elsewhere tomorrow, CIYMS are the only members of the top four at home — they play CSN — and Instonians, at Ballymena and Waringstown, at Carrickfergus, face tricky ties without their Ireland A players, namely Rory McCann, James Shannon, James Hall and Gary Kidd. At the bottom it would appear to be a must-win game for basement club Lurgan when they visit fellow strugglers Downpatrick.
Tomorrow’s fixtures (12.00): Ulster Bank Premier League: Ballymena v Instonians, Carrickfergus v Waringstown, CIYMS v Civil Service North, Downpatrick v Lurgan, North Down v Lisburn.
Section One: Bangor v Laurelvale, Cliftonville v Armagh, Derriaghy v Dundrum, Muckamore v Saintfield, Woodvale v Holywood.
Section Two: Dungannon v Larne
Goldblatt McGuigan Junior Cup semi finals: Academy v Cooke Collegians, Dunmurry v Waringstown II.
Sunday (12.00): Premier League: Civil Service North v North Down, Instonians v Lisburn. Section One: Bangor v Muckamore