Instonians still hampered by injuries as T20 action becomes decisive.
Murray Commins was the surprise name on the Instonians team-sheet in last Sunday’s Irish Cup tie but he is not expected to return any time soon.
The 21-year-old South African was registered at the start of the season but he was already committed to playing his club cricket in St Albans, so Instonians decided to go without overseas help.
But, in the absence of skipper Andrew White and Ireland international James Shannon last weekend, Commins flew in to bolster Instonians’ batting – and what a debut he enjoyed.
Commins, definitely one to watch for the future, hit 103 from 106 balls, with 15 fours in Instonians’ 273-5 but it still wasn’t enough to help his new side into the quarter-finals, Phoenix reaching their revised target of 200 with a comfortable 20 balls to spare.
Commins is unavailable for any Saturday cricket and White has said they will only call on him ‘when required’. Cynics might say the Challenge Cup final, on Friday July 27, could be his next match, if they get past Civil Service North in next Saturday’s semi-final.
Instonians, though, continue to be hampered by injuries, mainly on the bowling front, although Robert McKinley is expected to be back in the attack in the semi-final, but Nikolai Smith is now waiting the results of an MRI scan.
With no Premier League action until next month, the club’s immediate priority is defeating Armagh tonight in the final round of games in the Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup and then hope Civil Service North can beat Waringstown in the other Group A game.
That would send CSN and Instonians through to the semi-finals but victory for the holders would knock out the Shaw’s Bridge side.
It’s the same scenario in Group B; if Carrickfergus beat North Down they will join them in the semi-finals but another win for the Comber side will let in the winners of the CIYMS v Muckamore tie which has been put back to next Wednesday as today Belmont hosts MCC’s final game of their Tour Week, against the Ireland Under19s (11am).