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Gifted Shannon in dramatic return to Instonians

 

Welcome mat: James Shannon is back with his boyhood club
Welcome mat: James Shannon is back with his boyhood club

By Ian Callender

James Shannon will return to cricket tomorrow - playing for Instonians. In a dramatic move he has severed his links with Phoenix, whom he signed for during the winter, and returned to his boyhood club.

The Ireland international is ineligible to play in today's Gallagher's Challenge Cup quarter-final against Waringstown - and indeed in the Irish Cup clash between the teams next month - as he was not registered in time.

But Instonians, who lost their Lagan Valley Steels T20 Cup semi-final against CIYMS last night, confirmed that he will make his comeback in the Robinson Services Premier League game against Civil Service North at Stormont.

Shannon has had personal problems since he moved to Dublin and, compounded by a shoulder injury, he will be relieved to return to Shaw's Bridge - and the club will welcome him back with open arms.

It was his Ireland team-mate Mark Adair who stole the show at Belmont last night, hitting 67 off 27 balls, with three fours and seven sixes as CIYMS piled up 217-5 on their way to a 68 runs win.

In the final - on Monday, July 15 - they will play Waringstown who sneaked home by two runs at North Down.

Cricket Ireland confirmed last night that Zimbabwe Cricket have cancelled their women's tour to Ireland, which was due to start on Tuesday.

The teams were due to play three one-day games in Oak Hill next week and three T20s as part of double-headers with the men's games at Stormont on July 10 and Bready on July 12 and 14. The men's games go ahead as scheduled.

Reports from Zimbabwe suggested that ICC had frozen its funding to Zimbabwe and as well as the women's team not travelling, it was also reported that the men's team had not been paid their salaries.

Will Smale is the unfamiliar name in the Ireland Under-19 squad for next month's Under-19 World Cup qualifying tournament in Holland.

The Welsh schoolboy has an Irish passport, got in touch with coach Ryan Eagleson last winter and was invited over to the winter training sessions. The batsman/wicket-keeper impressed so much that he was named in the 14-man squad which will take on Scotland, Netherlands, Jersey, Denmark and France, with only the winners qualifying for the finals in South Africa in January.

It is a young squad with only two survivors from last year's finals - Neil Rock who is this year's captain and JJ Garth - with eight players who are also in the Ireland U17 squad, including 15-year-old slow bowlers Jamie Forbes and Tim Tector, both from YMCA.

There are two Instonians players, James Hunter and Oliver Metcalfe, plus two from the North West, Brigade's Kyle Magee and Bready's Marcus Poskitt, in the 14-man squad which has three games away to Worcestershire next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday plus a game against the Emerging Knights the day before they travel to the Netherlands on July 24.

Ireland U19 squad: N Rock (capt), JJ Garth, J Forbes, G Hoey, J Hunter, K Magee, G McFaul, N McGuire, O Metcalfe, M Poskitt, W Smale, A Stiles, T Tector, M Thompson.

NCU T20 CUP SEMI-FINALS

Belmont: CIYMS 217-5 (20 overs, C Dougherty 76 (9-2), M Adair 67 (27 3-7), J Matchett 47; J Manley 3-25) Instonians 149-9 (M Commins 38, A White 35, J Manley 28; J Matcheett 3-20, J Cameron-Dow 2-18, J Mulder 2-19). CIYMS won by 68 runs.

The Green: Waringstown 158-2 (20 overs, A Dennison 85 not out, L Nelson 42) North Down 156-6 (20 overs, D Pretorius 42, N Burns 39, A Shields 21; G Kidd 3-28, L Nelson 2-9). Waringstown won by 2 runs.

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