McCarter inspires confidence as CSN turn corner
What a difference a change of captaincy can make! Civil Service North skipper Andrew Cowden stepped down after his side lost their first four games and his successor, Graeme McCarter, has led CSN to back to back victories.
After a Twenty20 opener on Friday night when they reduced Lisburn from 85 for four to 100 all out, confidence was on the rise when CSN travelled to Carrickfergus to begin their defence of the AJG Challenge Cup.
The length of the Premier League currently separates the teams but when it comes to the Challenge Cup the Storm side are a different beast and although the new captain did not enjoy a good day personally - run out for one and he failed to take a wicket in his 10 overs which cost 56 - his vice-captain James Kennedy scored 81.
Kennedy shared stands of 85 for the first wicket with Wayne Horwood (54) and 102 with Cowden (38) and although they then lost three wickets for seven runs, Arron Wright (24 not out) and Paddy Beverland (25) got them up to 259 for six.
When Carrick professional Pat Botha was dismissed for one, Carrick were 49 for three but first Alex Haggan (75) and then Daniel Poulton (64) kept the home side interested and the holders under pressure.
It was Alan Blain who was CSN's bowling star, having removed Botha he followed up with Poulton's wicket when Carrick needed 30 off the last four overs. The last wicket between Max Burton and Ally Martin still added 22 but with four balls remaining, Martin was run out and CSN's cup run continues in a second year.
The finish was even more exciting at Moylena where Waringstown's Marcus McClean was run out going for the second run which would have tied the scores with two balls remaining. It was the last wicket so Muckamore won by one run.
The other five first round ties all resulted in wins for the favourites, last year's beaten finalists CIYMS the most convincing batting first, beating Donaghcloney Mills (92) by 171 runs while Instonians openers Nikolai Smith and James Shannon (69) were not parted as they passed Derriaghy's 102 inside 13 overs.