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Star man Rassie a real class act: Jones

By Ian Callender

Nigel Jones has never won a league title in his 11 years in the Premier League, but the CIYMS all-rounder knows he will never have a better chance than with this team - especially with Rassie van der Dussen in red-hot form.

The South African professional inspired CI to clinch a second successive Ulster Bank Challenge Cup with a 50-runs victory over Instonians at the second attempt after Friday's match was abandoned.

Van der Dussen, who scored 134 not out on Friday, followed that up on Saturday with 117 when it mattered to get the man of the match award he probably would have won if the game had reached a conclusion the previous day.

Jones said of the influential star: "You see the numbers he stacks up back in South Africa and the conditions he plays in, but what really impresses is that he can still do it here.

"He just takes his time at the start and assesses the conditions.

"But if he gets to 50, you will notice in the next 50 he puts the foot down and takes the game away from the opposition. He is very easy to bat with and he is a quality player.

"We know we can't rely on Rassie to score runs. We all have to chip in and it was great to see JT (Johnny Thompson) put in a performance like that in the final."

And already the former Ireland international's thoughts were turning to that elusive league title.

"The closest I came was a few years ago at Civil Service North when we were all set to share the league but had a point deducted (for slow over-rate) so it would be good to win a league," said Jones.

"It will be a hard effort this year, we may be able to slip up once more, but not twice.

"We have had a lot of injuries, so don't think we have had a fully fit team this season, but if we can keep this side together and take this confidence on we will not be far away at all.

"Waringstown (the leaders) have more depth in batting and massive spin options, but we have more seamers."

The cup final was a case perfectly made as VdD used up 78 balls getting to 50 but only another 53 to reach his century, which included nine fours and two sixes.

When the opening batsman was out at the start of the 47th over, he was able to leave the last four overs in the capable hands of Thompson, who hit two sixes and three fours as another 41 runs were added.

The Instonians hero was skipper Neil Russell, as much for his bravery as his 49 defiant runs in the valiant run chase.

Russell has never worn a helmet and he admitted "that was my foolishness" facing Thompson.

Sure enough, the fourth ball of the sixth over crashed into the side of his head and a red pool of blood was immediately visible, but, not only was he able to walk off, laughing, but 29 overs later he returned to the middle, wearing a helmet, to continue his innings.

While he was there, Instonians had every chance pulling off a sensational victory as he proceeded to hit another 31 off 13 balls until, going for his fifth sixth to bring up his 50, he found the safe hands of Jones.

"The boys said 'thank goodness it was you', but at first I wasn't sure if it was going over my head or coming straight at my throat so it was more relief when I held the catch. But that was a big moment as well," added Jones.

"I think the best team won in the end, but credit to Instonians, they played some good cricket and in the final that's what people want to see."

Scores: CIYMS 259-7 (R van der Dussen 117, J Thompson 68, J Matchett 46; E Moleon 3-80, Z Rushe 2-47) Instonians - set 246 in 46 overs - 195 (42.2 overs J Shannon 65, N Russell 49; J Cameron-Dow 4-17, N Jones 2-45, T Britton 2-52). CIYMS won by 50 runs DLS

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