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Callum Atkinson hails Faiz Fazal’s influence on Lisburn’s surprise perfect early-season form in Premier League

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Lisburn’s Faiz Fazal. Credit: David Maginnis

Lisburn’s Faiz Fazal. Credit: David Maginnis

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Lisburn’s Faiz Fazal. Credit: David Maginnis

It’s a three-way tie at the top of the Robinson Services Premier League with North Down and CIYMS predictably in the mix — but completing the trio is the only team with a 100 per cent record, surprise package Lisburn.

The Wallace Park side were expected to be in a battle for a top-six place in the new league format, which splits into a top and bottom half in July, but three wins out of three, including against CI and Civil Service North, have given new skipper Callum Atkinson a start he could only have dreamed of.

“We know it’s only three matches and Faiz (Fazal, their Indian professional) has made a sensational start, so our measure will come when he gets a low one — which will happen probably sooner rather than later — and we’ll then see how the middle order copes,” said Atkinson.

“But the bowlers, Mark Berry, David Simpson and Neil Whitworth, have all done well. Mark is the leading wicket-taker, I believe and we have played a number of good sides already.

"Even Cliftonville Academy, in our last match, are a very useful addition to the Premier League.”

Lisburn’s next test is against defending champions Waringstown at The Lawn tomorrow and Atkinson insists they go into the game with confidence.

“Matthew Humphreys is still unavailable but otherwise we are at full strength and we’re looking forward to a good game,” he added.

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Arguably, it’s an even bigger encounter for Waringstown after they lost their rearranged clash with Carrickfergus last Sunday and it would be an early eight points deficit on the leaders if they were to already lose a third game.

North Down, who lost their first game to CIYMS last weekend, are boosted by the return of Paul Stirling for their tie at Carrick, while CI host Instonians.

In the North West, meanwhile, it’s a Senior Cup-Premiership double header this weekend, with the seeded first round Cup games tomorrow followed by the rearranged fixtures from the washed-out opening day of the league season. Unlike the NCU, they are played over the full 40-over distance.

Bready have two home games, with the defending champions tomorrow playing host to Strabane who also won their first outing.


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