Jones man on a mission
David Holmes (News Letter)
One man certainly does not a team make but at Comber on Saturday evening as CIYMS skipper Nigel Jones received the Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup from NCU President Peter McMorran he had left an indelible stamp on this contest with Instonians.
Already pocketed was the Man of the Match award from Shane Matthews, representing the sponsors for his 80 from 116 balls and 2-28 as Instonians posted an inadequate 208 batting first.
Jones knows how to make an entrance, due to flight delays he arrived on the ground as Matt McGillivray was set to toss with Nikolai Smith. Indeed, he only made that as the start had been delayed by 20 minutes due to showers. The bag was hastily thrown into the changing room and he strode to the middle; a man with a purpose.
Arguably the destiny of the game had already been decided before Jones had cleared arrivals.
In his absence Matt McGillivray was conducting fielding drills with the CI team lined up in formation on each side of three single stumps; the object to pick up and throw down the stump. One could only be impressed by the number of times the stump went cartwheeling.
A cursory look at the Instonians card shows three run outs attributed to John Matchett, Jacob Mulder and Jason van der Merwe, the latter two direct hits.
Nikolai Smith had no hesitation in batting initially it looked the right choice as he and James Shannon, negotiated the early salvos from Allen Coulter and McGillivray in relative comfort.
At times, as only he can Shannon made it look easy his two sixes off Coulter and then McGillivray cleared the boundary with plenty to spare, the introduction of Jones brought his downfall edging a wider delivery to Chris Dougherty behind.
Less than three overs later Jacob Mulder kissed Andrew White’s bat and again Dougherty did the rest; popular wisdom being if White fails in a final his side loses and so it proved. All the good early work undone and now so much resting on skipper Smith.
From there Instonians became authors of their own downfall with poor shot selection and running between the wickets. Any thoughts of an imposing target went in the 34th over as Smith was clean bowled by Mulder and next ball, Ben Rose was caught at long off by McGillivray.
Only 39 from 48 balls from veteran Eugene Moleon ensured 200.
Instonians struck quickly, firstly James Magee had Matchett caught by Shannon and then wicket-keeper Jordan McClurkin ended Dougherty’s 36 ball stay for 3 off Shane Getkate - 25-2 off 12.
When McGillivray was caught by McClurkin off Nathan Smith it was 67-3 off 20, the door ajar, Jones and Ryan Hunter in the best innings he has played since joining CIYMS, firmly slammed it shut with a 126-run partnership which sealed victory.
With the focus on Jones, Hunter blossomed the 37th over bowled by Getkate, finished with three boundaries, the first a misfield then a late cut and finally a full-blooded drive through backward point. Hunter, 65 not out better than a run a ball with 11x4’s and one maximum.
Jones departed with only 16 required and had been on the field for all but 11 overs of play, he won his third Arthur J Gallagher MOM this season in the process and set off again for Jersey to complete the Ireland U19 qualifying campaign.
CIYMS are not a one-man team, but as a leader, inspiration and talisman, those are mighty big boots to fill.