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Gallagher Challenge Cup Final - CIYMS preview

The biggest day on the local cricketing calendar is upon us as North Down and CIYMS meet in the Gallagher Challenge Cup final at The Green on Friday (11am start).

CIYMS will be looking to retain the title they won two years ago while North Down – the most successful club in the history of this competition – are chasing a first title since 2011.

Here, we look at CIYMS with team news, quotes and more.


Road To The Final

First Round
CIYMS 248-8 (N Jones 36, G Kennedy 72, J Mulder 55, J Cameron-Dow 22, N Gill 2-54, G McCarter 2-49, J Snyman 2-42)
Carrickfergus 126 (CJ vd Walt 20, G McCarter 45, N Jones 3-28, G Kennedy 2-24, J Mulder 2-31)
CIYMS beat Carrickfergus by 122 runs 

CIYMS 240 (J Cameron-Dow 104, N Jones 34, D Miller 40, R Pretorius 4-28, P Karthik 4-53)
Woodvale 150 (R Pretorius 53, C Robinson 2-21, J Cameron-Dow 2-25, J vd Merwe 2-28)
CIYMS beat Woodvale by 90 runs 

CIYMS 260-6 (J Matchett 23, C Dougherty 47, J vd Merwe 45, M Adair 29, N Jones 55no, G Kennedy 30, L Georgeson 3-46, B Adair 2-29)
CSNI 118 (S Thompson 42, M Adair 4-23, G Kennedy 4-34)
CIYMS beat CSNI by 142 runs

Team News
CIYMS have now reached four finals in the past six seasons this competition has been held and most of the squad that has helped them earn that success are still in the team.   Led by captain Nigel Jones, the Belmont side have all of their star-studded squad available with the likes of Mark Adair, Graham Kennedy and Allen Coulter all taking to the field.   Adair and Kennedy trained with Ireland at Millfield School in Somerset this week while Coulter, who has struggled with injury this season, is fit for the final.   Five of CI's batsmen have registered more than 380 runs this season and James Cameron-Dow has starred with the ball, collecting 20 wickets.

One To Watch

Mark Adair
Adair was named Man of the Match in the 2019 final after his 63 helped get CIYMS out of some trouble against Instonians before they went on to win by 98 runs.   The 25-year-old also picked up the award in the semi-finals earlier this month at Stormont in a win over CSNI, showcasing his variety of skills to collect figures of 4-23.   Adair is able to float in the order, often batting at three for CIYMS while he has also been deployed in a middle order role to provide some explosive hitting when required.   The Ireland international certainly enjoys the biggest stages and don't be surprised if he plays a big role with bat and ball on Friday.

What Did They Say?
Nigel Jones has won five Gallagher Challenge Cup's and will be looking to add yet another to his collection at The Green. He spoke this week ahead of another big game for his team.

On being back in another Challenge Cup final: "The boys are delighted. It's great, especially after last year, that we have the opportunity to go for the cup again. The boys are excited about it and we talk about it every time – it's a privilege to play in this competition and that's the way we view it. We will be going in fully focused and giving our best efforts."

On using big-game experience: "The biggest thing that we take from it is knowing in the big games that the pressure can ebb and flow and you just have to keep yourself in the game. There can be times where you feel behind on the scoreboard but it's important to keep being positive and it isn't over until that last ball. That's the way we approach it. There will always be a bit of nerves but the boys will be confident going into it."

On North Down as opponents: "They have some guys in form and there are certainly some batters that are performing well. Their bowling group has a bit of variety so they'll come with confidence in the options that they've got. We always speak about what we can do and what we are capable of doing more so than what the opposition can do to us. We will respect them no doubt but when it comes to our turn to bat or bowl the individuals tasked with it can stand up and put on a show."

On playing in another final: "The older I get, the bigger the game is better for me. It tends to get me up for the game and I tend to focus a bit more and have more edge to my game. If you can't get up for these games then you won't get up for any game. No matter how many times you play in it or what age you are, they are always great fun."

On his team: "It's a brilliant squad. Chris Doc has been calming for us at the top of the order and we know what he brings. We have guys like Jason van der Merwe – you can never write CIYMS off when he's in the team and I think he's a fantastic player. He goes a bit under the radar and all of a sudden can be scoring at a decent lick and have more on the board than you think. We know guys like Mark Adair loves these occasions and also James Cameron-Dow and Jacob Mulder. There are plenty of guys who can step up and we are lucky to have that depth. I'm sure they will all be keen to step up and show what they can do."