Chris Dougherty is looking for his first win over Waringstown tomorrow when CIYMS meet the Villagers in the match of the season so far in the Ulster Bank Premier League.
All roads will lead to Belmont to see how the CI all-stars come back from their first defeat against another of the favourites for the championship this season.
Dougherty wasn’t involved at Stormont on Wednesday, when Civil Service North bowled out their visitors for 85, as he was away with Ireland A, but he feels he has does not have a better chance of appearing on the winning side tomorrow.
“I lost to Waringstown in the Irish Cup semi-final (at Brigade) last season and also twice with Bready so hopefully the first win is coming up,” he said.
“They have a strong attack, especially with the spin of Lee Nelson, James Hall and Kyle McCallan but we have been playing well and although I wasn’t there last night I’m told it was just a bad day at the office and it’s a defeat out of the way before an important weekend.”
Following the big league clash, CIYMS are also involved in the Ulster Bank Challenge Cup match of the round, away to Lisburn on Sunday.
“I don’t know as much about Lisburn, but I’ve played against Darryl Brown (their new professional) at Fox Lodge. He’s a good player,” added Dougherty.
“We know we have to be on top of our game but we’ll take each game as it comes and hopefully at end of season we will be in with a shout for the league and a few other competitions, as well,” added Dougherty who scored his first half century of the season for Ireland A this week.
“I have actually felt good, but haven’t had much luck. So I wasn’t really disappointed with my form because I know once I get going there will be runs there. Hopefully the 50 and 30 in this match (against Kent Seconds) can kick-start my season.
Next week (against Gloucestershire Seconds) I’ll be going out to try and get the hundred, which you have to do in these type of games. It’s a case of getting through the first hour, batting sessions, batting long and I like batting for long periods. I just couldn’t go on to that big score.”
And the main difference between the North West and the NCU?
“Apart from the grounds, the bowling is a lot tighter down here, probably not as many loose balls,” is Dougherty’s first impressions.
Elsewhere tomorrow, champions North Down are the first league visitors to Eaton Park where Ballymena are invariably tough opposition on their own ground and the Instonians v Lisburn game should be an early indicator which of those two teams can stay the pace with the leaders.
As well as the four rearranged Challenge Cup ties tomorrow, Civil Service North are in Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup action at home to Phoenix, who have dropped into Leinster Senior Two, and the incentive of another home tie in the next round against Derriaghy.
Tomorrow’s fixtures (1pm): Ulster Bank Premier League: Ballymena v North Down, Carrickfergus v Civil Service North (noon), Instonians v Lisburn, CIYMS v Waringstown.
Section One: Bangor v Cliftonville (noon), Donacloney v Derriaghy, Downpatrick v Dundrum, Lurgan v Holywood, Woodvale v Muckamore (noon)
Section Two: BISC v Laurelvale, Drumaness v Armagh (noon), Saintfield v Academy, Templepatrick v Cooke Collegians. Sunday: Armagh v BISC
Goldblatt McGuigan Junior Cup: Dunmurry v Portadown, Millpark v Victoria. Playing Sunday: Laurelvale v Drumaness, Woodvale II v North Down II
Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup first round: Sunday: Civil Service North v Phoenix (12.30pm)
Ulster Bank Challenge Cup first round (noon): Bangor v Downpatrick, Cliftonville v Muckamore (11.30am), Lisburn v CIYMS (11.30am), Lurgan v Holywood