Silver lining for Malan and Dennison at NCU awards
The NCU awards celebrated their 25th anniversary this week, with current league sponsors Robinson Services carrying on the custom that players in senior cricket are rewarded for a century, taking six wickets and a hat-trick.
By a quirk of fate, this year's NCU president is former North Down player Clarence Hiles, who launched the awards when boss of Britannia Building Society in 1993, and he was present to hand over the first awards of the season.
David Robinson, managing director of Robinson Services, said he was proud to carry on "such a very fine tradition", and this year, for the first time, each trophy is inscribed with the player's name, his club and details of his performance.
More than 1,000 trophies have been presented down the years, and the first two Premier League recipients this year are Waringstown's Adam Dennison, who scored 116 against Instonians, and Civil Service North professional Andre Malan, who hit 107 against Carrickfergus. The highest score of the season so far has been 125 by Lisburn's Adam Berry, one of the eight achievers in Section One.
John Busby of Templepatrick has returned the best bowling figures of the season so far, 6-11, and along with team-mate Phil Kernaghan, who took one of the two hat-tricks - JJ Strydom of Woodvale claimed the other - they will be hoping to take the club to the final of the GMcC Junior Cup this Saturday.
Templepatrick have home advantage against Lisburn II, who scored a massive 325-7 in Sunday's delayed quarter-final, while the other game will be at Middle Road with Carrickfergus II hosting Cliftonville Academy.
Carrick won a high-scoring quarter-final by just six runs against Instonians when no fewer than five players scored 50s - including cousins Harry Warke, top scorer for Carrick with 89, and Michael Warke, who hit 55 for the visitors.
This year's final is at Moylena and is scheduled for Saturday, August 4.