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Jones: I'm relishing combining Lightning job with CIYMS duty

 

By Ian Callender

Nigel Jones will continue to play for and captain Robinson Services Premier League champions CIYMS after being appointed head coach of Leinster Lightning.

Cricket Leinster announced the appointment yesterday but Jones confirmed that continuing his playing career at Belmont was part of the negotiations. He begins his new role in two weeks' time.

"I'll be a busy boy but it's nothing that can't be managed and it remains beneficial to all parties," Jones said as the congratulations poured in from fellow NCU players and clubs from Leinster.

Jones, who will also have the role of Leinster Lightning pathway manager, succeeds Albert van der Merwe who has taken up the post of national talent pathway manager with Cricket Ireland.

The 37-year-old former Ireland international, who won 34 caps between 2009 and 2012, will also have overall responsibility for the coaching and development of the Leinster Bolts and youth representative teams.

He takes over the most successful provincial side on the island, able to field a team composed entirely of internationals, and, indeed, Lightning have won all but three of the 18 trophies across all three formats since the inter-provincial series was revamped in 2013.

CIYMS will be relieved that he is not abandoning them, especially as they are now in pole position to defend their league title after Waringstown's shock defeat to Carrickfergus on Saturday.

Although they bowled out Carrick in the 48th over for 180, with James Mitchell taking 4-42, Waringstown collapsed from 80-1 to 133 all out as Ryan Eagleson ripped through the visitors to finish with 5-21.

The Villagers, however, bounced back yesterday with a straightforward seven-wicket victory over Holywood in their delayed first round Gallagher's Challenge Cup tie at Seapark.

Habib Azam and Gary Kidd had to fight over the match ball after each finished with five wickets as the Section One side were bowled out for just 53 and Waringstown knocked off the runs in 11 overs.

The Pakistani professional took a wicket with his fourth delivery, another with the last ball of his second over and Holywood were 4-2. A third-wicket stand of 25 between top scorer Thomas Anderson (17) and JB Houston held up the Cup holders until the ninth over but Habib still had figures of 4-3 after five overs, while Mitchell had conceded 27 at the other end.

When replaced by Kidd, the procession of wickets resumed, the slow left-armer claiming two wickets in his second over and three in four balls to end the match.

James Hall failed to survive the first over in Waringstown's reply and they also lost Lee Nelson and Adam Dennison before Ross Waite and Marcus McClean eased them into a home clash with Instonians in the second round on Saturday.

North Down won the other top flight game at the weekend, beating Muckamore by 16 runs to move into third place, four points behind CIYMS and Waringstown, the Villagers having now played a game more than the other two.

GALLAGHER CHALLENGE CUP 1ST ROUND

Seapark: Holywood 53 (17.1 overs; G Kidd 5-9, H Azam 5-12) Waringstown 54-3 (11 overs; K Walsh 2-20). Waringstown won by seven wickets.

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