Johnny Morton (News Letter)
Muckamore currently sit on 16 points in the Robinson Services Premier League and captain Neil Gill has challenged his squad to mount a strong finish to the season.
The Moylena side won three games on the trot against CSNI, Carrickfergus and Armagh before last weekend’s three-wicket loss to Instonians - and with only four points separating third and seventh, Gill is looking to achieve something from which to build beyond the current campaign.
“I think now that we are safe, there was a bit of going through the motions and we got beat by a team containing seven schoolboys,” said Gill.
“I know their big players in Whitey and (Robert) McKinley stood up but we should have put on 250 or 260 and gone on to win easily enough.
“It was disappointing because we would have gone up to third, I said to the boys that I don’t want it to be dead-rubbers until the end of the season.
“We want to finish as high as we can, so it was one of the more disappointing losses.
“Before that we cemented our place in the league for next year, our priority coming into the season, so hopefully over the winter we can build on that and come back stronger.
“There’s no point in just turning up and going through the motions in the last five games - there’s no fun in that.
“It’s a long winter and I’ve said to the boys that you want to score as many runs and take as many wickets as you can in a season and finish off really well.”
Adam McDaid has proven to be a quality signing, hitting two half-centuries since he joined the club last month.
“He’s been super, he looks class and he has really impressed me,” said Gill.
“I’ve said to him as well that it would be good for him to finish the season on a high, and he knows we would love to have him again next year but we aren’t sure what’s going to happen.
“He has fit in really well with the boys.”
Professional Fahad Iqbal has scored 616 runs and taken 25 wickets this season.
“He talks a lot of sense and he has played a lot of first-class cricket back home,” said the Muckamore captain.
“I can’t knock the runs he has and he has chipped in with important wickets.
“As a professional goes, he is certainly value for money.”
They host league leaders CIYMS on Saturday, who they completed the league double over last season.
“We have a good record against them, especially at Moylena, although I know they are a quality team,” he said.
“We are missing Pavan Karthik for the rest of the season, who has over 20 wickets this season.”