Overseas pros make their presence felt
It didn't take long for the overseas professionals to make an impression in the Robinson Services Premier League, with three of them scoring centuries on the opening day of the delayed start to the season.
Carrickfergus' Jacques Snyman led the way with 124 in their 64 runs victory over Instonians at Middle Road which would have been even bigger but for a 91-run ninth wicket stand by Matthew Humphreys (77) and James Metcalfe (42 not out).
CJ van der Welt, the other, Irish-qualified, South African took five of the early Instonians wickets as they slumped to 136-8 in reply to Carrick's huge 320-6, built on a third wicket stand of 196 between Snyman and Jamie Holmes (65).
Obus Pienaar announced his return to the NCU with an undefeated 101 for defending champions CIYMS against Lisburn at Wallace Park, bringing up his century and winning the match with his fourth six as they chased down the newly promoted side's 196-5 in the 40th over for the loss of six wickets. His slow left arm bowling wasn't quite so good, his six wicketless overs going for 36 runs.
Ruhan Pretorius of North Down was the other century maker, hitting 107 of his side's 236 before he was Graham McCarter's fourth wicket. New skipper Ally Shields scored 71 in a third wicket stand of 177 in their four wickets victory. CSN's professional, Andre Malan fell 12 runs short of his hundred, caught behind of new Ireland international signing Craig Young who finished with 2-41.
Waringstown are still awaiting the arrival of their new professional and they just hung on to beat an impressive Muckamore side by three runs at The Lawn.
The Moylena side got to within eight runs of their victory target of 233 with still three wickets left but Adam Dennison was the unlikely breakthrough bowler and Muckamore lost their last two wickets in the 49th over.
Dennison had earlier top scored for the Irish Cup holders and last year's league runners-up with 63 - a score matched by Muckamore's Marcus O'Riordan - and Lee Nelson, filling in at No 3 for missing international James McCollum, scored 50.
The NCU teams turn to T20 action today with the first round of matches in the Lagan Valley Steels Cup, with Waringstown starting their defence at Carrick while, by a quirk of the fixture list, both CIYMS and North Down return to the scenes of their triumph on Saturday.
Lagan Valley Steels T20 Cup: Carrickfergus v Waringstown (3.00), Lisburn v CIYMS (2.00), Civil Service North v North Down (2.00), Instonians v Muckamore (5.30)
Gallagher Senior Cup Preliminary Round (1.00): Ballymena v Cregagh, Templepatrick v Donaghcloney Mill.
Robinson Services League Section One (1.00): Armagh v Holywood, Bangor v Woodvale.