White determined to land showpiece upset
Instonians captain Andrew White accepts the role of underdogs when they take on CIYMS in the Gallagher's Challenge Cup final at The Green, Comber today (11am) but knows there is enough talent in his side to cause an upset.
"CIYMS will expect to win all in front of them this season, but the beauty of cup competitions is that you are just one good day for us and one bad day from them and Instonians win the cup," says White, who today plays his 10th cup final.
The worry or, with positive thinking, the encouragement for White is that CI finally lost a league match, to Carrickfergus last Saturday, but the captain - who won the man of the match in his first final for North Down in 2000 - knows it will be probably take a big innings from at least one Instonians player to topple the favourites.
"We've lost to a Waringstown 100 from (Kyle) McCallan, a CI hundred from Rassie (van der Dussen), so it could boil down to someone from Instonians getting a century," he adds. "But we are running into a bit of form and, after a terrible start in the league, have won our last two matches."
Nikolai Smith fell just six runs short of three figures in the quarter-final against Waringstown, when professional Murray Commins also hit 84 in an impressive 37 runs win at The Lawn, and White is excited for the future of the South African.
"Murray has fitted in seamlessly and has the potential to be the best bat in the NCU for the next five years. He is also committed to Ireland and qualifies in another two years," says the Ireland chairman of selectors.
"Shane Getkate (who made his ODI debut last month against Zimbabwe) has had a great year; Josh Manley, who joined us in June, has run into a bit of form and James Magee and Rob McKinley are both bowling well, so there is an air of confidence in the team.
"If we play to our potential we have a chance and, although we have a few youngsters in the team, cup finals are big occasions for even the most experienced players."
White will have his first-choice line-up available, although it will be a race to Comber from Dublin Airport this morning for Olly Metcalfe and James Hunter, who are flying back from the Under-19 qualifying tournament in the Netherlands.
It is an experience that CI skipper Nigel Jones knows all about as he interrupted his coaching duties at the qualifiers two years ago to make the pre-match toss with minutes to spare.
This time, he expects all 12 squad members to be there in plenty of time and raring to go as they chase a hat-trick of cup final victories in the space of five years against Instonians.
With the first Premier League match postponed and the second meeting due to be played tomorrow - now also postponed - the teams' only meeting this season was the T20 semi-final when Mark Adair hit 67 off 27 balls. If the Ireland international, in his first cup final, tees off anything similar then Instonians task will be verging on the impossible.
Although Adair will not be allowed to bowl in the final, following his exertions in the Lord's Test match last week, Jones still has Jason van der Merwe as a third seamer and probably four front-line spinners.
The only selection doubt is the availability of off spinner Trevor Britton but he is his 90% certain to play. If not, David Robinson is a pretty useful replacement.
CIYMS: N Jones (capt), C Dougherty, J Matchett, O Pienaar, R Hunter, J van der Merwe, M Adair, J Mulder, J Cameron-Dow, A Coulter, T Britton, D Robinson.
Instonians: A White (capt), N Smith, O Metcalfe, M Commins, S Getkate, R McKinley, J Hunter, B Rose, J Manley, J Metcalfe, J Magee, M Humphreys.