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Shannon pushing for Irish slot after return

By Ian Callender

James Shannon made his return to cricket at the weekend for Instonians and will take his place in the Ireland A team for the three-day game against their Scottish counterparts at Ayr, starting this morning.

Shannon missed the last fortnight after suffering concussion on the opening day of Ireland A's first game of the season, but he played back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday and has been passed fit to push his claims for a recall to the senior side. It was in November 2013 that Shannon won the last of his 12 caps but the 26-year-old batsman remains one of the most talented batsman in the NCU and this week's game is the perfect stage for him to state his case, especially in the absence of John Anderson, who is unavailable because of work commitments.

Other batsmen in the frame for senior selection are Jack Tector, the YMCA opener who scored 131 not out in the first innings against MCC last month and Waringstown's James McCollum who has taken the place of Chris Dougherty.

As fate would have it, McCollum scored only two in Waringstown's Ulster Bank Premier League victory over Civil Service North on Saturday while Dougherty followed up his 76, as CIYMS made their exit from the Twenty20 Cup against the same opposition on Friday, with 113 in his side's thrilling two runs win over Instonians.

That result, Instonians' first league defeat, left defending champions Waringstown clear at the top after three games because the other unbeaten team on Saturday morning, Carrickfergus, lost by the minimum margin to Lisburn at Wallace Park.

Set 179 to win, Lisburn collapsed from 146 for four to 176 for nine but claimed their first league win thanks to Carrick professional Pat Botha, with the scores tied, bowling a wide to No 11 Callum Atkinson.

North Down are also, finally, off the mark as their batsmen enjoyed the short boundaries at Derriaghy to ease to their victory target of 216 with eight overs to spare.

In the North West, Donemana showed no mercy to Newbuildings, the sole surviving Championship side in the quarter-finals of the Bank of Ireland Senior Cup, racking up 407 - the last 167 runs coming in just 12 overs in an unbeaten sixth wicket stand between Jan Frylinck and William McClintock.

In the last four, the holders will be at home to Brigade while Coleraine have home advantage against Bready.

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