CIYMS were crowned Robinson Services Premier League champions last night, a 11th consecutive win completed in the same grand manner of the previous 10, a 42-runs success over Civil Service North at Belmont.
It was the only game in town last night after their east Belfast neighbours agreed to bring forward to to allow the new champions the chance to win the title on their own ground with no other distractions and afterwards skipper Nigel Jones admitted it was the opening day defeat which kick-started their victorious season.
North Down actually did us a favour, they gave us a kick-up the backside and we haven’t looked back since,” he said. “The top order have scored runs all season, we have batted deep and Allen Coulter has led the attack brilliantly.
“But it has been a real team effort, and I have really enjoyed seeing the lads progress. The two wins against Waringstown were the big ones, we felt we had the edge after last season, the fear factor wasn’t there and beating a big team like that sent a message through the whole squad that we could do it."
Fittingly, it was Coulter who finished the match and won the title with two wickets in two balls as CSN were bowled out for 75, which was just 30 more than Jason van der Merwe managed from 38 balls with four fours and the only six of the innings.
Chris Dougherty, Jones and John Matchett has all been dismissed in the first five overs with just 24 on the board and with Matt McGillivray falling to Andrew Cowden’s first ball the champions-elect were reduced to 41-4.
But van der Merwe then took centre stage and even when he was sixth out for 93 in the 18th over, but there was still time for Jack Beattie and James Cameron-Dow to add another 24 runs which proved more than enough with a virtual full strength bowling line-up at Jones’ disposal.
CI still plan to play their last two games this weekend, tomorrow morning against Instonians at Shaw’s Bridge and the following afternoon against Armagh who are playing back to back 20-over games, starting at Stormont on Sunday morning.
Unless they win both, Armagh will be relegated.