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Jones thrilled to be back in action as CIYMS get NCU campaign off to victorious start

 

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Instonians' Andrew White helps his side to a shock win over Waringstown

Instonians' Andrew White helps his side to a shock win over Waringstown

Instonians' Andrew White helps his side to a shock win over Waringstown

It was business as usual at Belmont yesterday as the NCU season finally got under way, 12 weeks late.

CIYMS, who won all three trophies last summer, enjoyed a convincing win as players and umpires got used to the new normal.

The match officials were shown the team sheets at the toss but could not touch, neither could they handle the ball as they always demanded at the fall of a wicket and they can no longer accept a bowler's cap or jumper. The wicket-keeper can't touch the bails and bowlers have no markers for their run-ups and all the players and umpires must arrive and leave in their cricket gear.

The spectators - or club members, because officially spectators are not allowed - also had to collect their drinks from a table at the clubhouse and remain outside, and lapping the ground is discouraged.

For winning CIYMS skipper Nigel Jones, it was just great to be back in the middle.

"Pleasing to be back is the first thing, we're outside and getting to play cricket. We were pretty keen to put on a show first time out and the boys have done that," he said. "It's all T20 this season but our boys are quite excited. You can focus for three hours and then relax!"

His top five batsmen all got a hit and he was able to use seven bowlers as Civil Service North's tame reply to the champions' 146-4 fell 29 runs short.

"If I knew that was going to be the script I would have taken your arm," added Jones.

To be fair to opposite number James Kennedy, he was dealt a huge blow on Friday when new signing Stuart Thompson told him he had been called up to the Ireland squad for the 18-day trip to England, ahead of the three-match one-day international series as the 22nd player.

So he will miss CSN's first four games, including their T20 Cup Quarter-Final away to Waringstown.

"He is a big loss, with his four overs with the ball and his batting," admitted Kennedy.

The Stormont side's other new signing, Ross Adair, however, looks good at the top of the order. He hit 30 off 24 balls with three fours and two sixes, but no team-mate could reach 20 as the home side's bowlers controlled the game.

North Down's new face Aditya Adey also made an impressive start, winning the game with a six which brought up his 50. But Scotland international and T20 specialist George Munsey, an eve-of-season signing for Carrickfergus, was caught on the mid-wicket boundary for just 10, from 22 balls, as the visitors limped to 104-6.

Waringstown received an opening-day shock when Instonians held on to win by three runs at The Lawn with James Hunter the last-ball hero as Greg Thompson, 68 not out, missed a wide yorker.

Woodvale got off to a winning start on their return to the top flight after a gap of 11 years, beating Lisburn by 19 runs.

In the North West, Coleraine, who launched the season on Friday with victory over Ballyspallen, made it two against Eglinton and there were also maximum-point wins for Donemana and Burndennett.

Belfast Telegraph