Underwood in town for the big showdown
For the third successive weekend, Sunday’s action trumps the Saturday league programme with North Down continuing their pursuit of four domestic trophies.
The NCU’s Twenty20 Cup has already been won and on Sunday the Comber side have home advantage in the final of the ClubTurf Ulster Cup against Civil Service North.
MCC president Derek Underwood is expected to be the chief guest at The Green for what will be the second meeting of the season between last year’s NCU top two.
North Down maintained the bragging rights three weeks ago with a 50 runs win in the Premier League game at Sunday’s venue, with Iain Robertson hitting exactly 100 and Neil Russell 72 in North Down’s 255 for six form just 46 overs.
If Peter Shields side’ get first use of the pitch, a repeat score could be on the cards, especially with a good weather forecast for the next couple of days.
After losing to Instonians in the league last Saturday, primarily because they lost a couple of early wickets and then had to score at more than six runs an over in a shortened match, they bounced back in emphatic style the following day with a century opening stand at the same ground between Robertson (84 not out) and Ryan Haire to qualify for their third Ulster Cup final in four years.
If they win on Sunday they will be become the first team to win the cup three times and if they can again get CSN skipper Nigel Jones early North Down will know they will have be well down the road to success.
The Ireland international, who heads to Holland on Monday with the international squad for the European A Championships, has scored six half centuries in his last seven innings. His only failure was in last month’s league game at Comber.
“When I get to 50 I just don’t feel as if I will get out,” Jones said.
Before Sunday’s action, both teams have more league points to play for with North Down, the more desperate for victory, to keep their title challenge on course. \[Peter Hutcheon\]Instonians nudged ahead last week and will hope to follow up with a revenge victory at Carrickfergus, who won the reverse victory at Shaw’s Bridge in May.
North Down will also hope to rectify the wrong they suffered at Eaton Park when Ballymena pay the return visit to The Green and Civil Service North will be hoping home advantage counts after Lisburn won the corresponding game at Wallace Park, although both Jones and international team-mate Regan West missed that match.Tomorrow: Ulster Bank Premier League (12pm): CIYMS v Bangor, Carrickfergus v Instonians, Civil Service North v Lisburn, North Down v Ballymena, Waringstown v Woodvale.
Section One: Cliftonville v Dundrum, Derriaghy v Downpatrick, Dunmurry v Cooke Collegians, Laurelvale v Holywood, Muckamore v Lurgan.
Section Two: Academy v Armagh, Larne v BISC, Portadown v Drumaness, Saintfield v Donacloney, Templepatrick v Cregagh.
SUNDAY: ClubTurf Ulster Cup final (1pm): North Down v Civil Service North (Comber).
Premier League (12pm): Woodvale v Waringstown. Section One: Cliftonville v Cooke Collegians.