Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

North Down target more T20 history

Chase is on: Ryan Haire hopes to land his fourth T20 success
Chase is on: Ryan Haire hopes to land his fourth T20 success

It is Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 finals week with the big one, between North Down and Civil Service North at Waringstown on Friday night, the culmination of this year's T20 action in the NCU.

North Down have been the most successful team in the history of the competition – they were the inaugural winners in 2005 and this will be their fifth final.

Indeed, skipper Ryan Haire and his predecessor, Peter Shields, will be chasing their fourth winner's medal while Taimur Khan, who missed last year's success, is a survivor from nine years ago.

It's a first T20 final for Civil Service North but having beaten last year's finalists, Lisburn, and Instonians, they can approach the game with confidence.

The Lawn, however, is a happy hunting ground for North Down who defeated Waringstown in the semi-final, as they did at the same stage in 2011 and also lifted the trophy there last year.

Remarkably, this will be the first time the teams have met in the T20 competition, their only previous clash in the 2012 group stages being decided by a bowl-out, which was won by North Down.

Finals week starts tonight at Shaw's Bridge when Laurelvale meet Academy in the Shield (for Section Two and Three teams) and tomorrow at Middle Road, Carrickfergus have home advantage against Derriaghy in the Trophy decider.

Carrick won a thrilling Section One game between the teams last month by 15 runs, despite Kaushik Aphale scoring a century for Derriaghy and although he also hit 76 not out in the T20 semi-final win over Bangor, Carrick have been the most impressive team in the competition.

Academy have been just as impressive in the Shield competition and they will start favourites to win it for the first time, after beating Laurelvale in the league by five wickets.

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