Johnny Morton (News Letter)
As Carrickfergus approach an important double header this weekend, it is clear that their future is very bright.
They welcome CSNI in the Premier League before an Irish Senior Cup tie against Leinster on Sunday.
Four of their squad have been included in the Emerging Knights squad for a two-day game against MCC next week which will be played at Middle Road.
Matthew McCord will captain that side - while Jack Burton, Max Burton and Harry Warke have also been selected, adding to Alex Haggan’s inclusion in the Northern Knights squad to face Munster last week.
Burton, in particular, has been in impressive form, hitting 83 in the last league game against Armagh adding to his 87 in the Irish Senior Cup first-round win over Coleraine last month.
Captain Michael Gilmour says it is fantastic to see the youth stepping up this season, especially with professional Pat Botha missing games through injury.
“It’s something we are always very excited about,” said Gilmour.
“This year we have been very lucky with the depth and instead of dwelling too much on the injury to Pat we looked at it as a great opportunity for these guys to come in and contribute.
“Whenever we do have that depth coming through, it definitely breeds confidence throughout the team.
“We are batting deep this year and to see the likes of Max Burton, Jack Burton and Matty McCord being in outstanding form is fantastic, so as long as that continues we have a lot to look forward to.”
Wins over Armagh and Waringstown mean Carrick are one of four teams sitting on eight points and Gilmour is looking to build momentum on Saturday before an exciting occasion on Sunday.
“This is the kind of weekend you look at and are raring to go,” he added.
“CSNI have strengthened their side a lot this year and we had a disappointing defeat to them in the Challenge Cup, so we are looking to put that right.
“If we can go well there we will build on that going into Sunday and everyone enjoys white ball cricket and coloured kit stuff, so that will be very exciting.”
Leinster will be without George Dockrell for the game, with the spinner on international duty in the Netherlands with Ireland. They currently sit bottom of the Leinster Premier League, having lost six of their first seven matches.