Johnny Morton (jmsport.co.uk)
Even though the NCU season is done and dusted for 2018, CSNI batsman Aaron Wright wonít be getting much of a break as he is preparing to spend the winter with Merbein South Cricket Club in Australia.
It was a campaign to remember for the 21-year-old, playing in his first Challenge Cup final against former club Waringstown, and there is no doubt that it has left him looking to perform in those occasions with regularity.
He also made his first-class debut for the Northern Knights against the North West Warriors in the Interprovincial Championship, showing the improvements he has made in his game over the past couple of years.
Here, he speaks about his upcoming trip, his season with CSNI and much more.
Youíre off to Australia in a couple of weeks time. Are you excited for the opportunity?
Yeah, I really canít wait. Itís two weeks until I leave now. Cricket season has just finished, so I get a short break then straight back into it.
You went to New Zealand last winter. How did you find that experience?
New Zealand was fantastic. It hardens you as a person and as a player. When youíre playing cricket, they donít really rate Ireland as a nation so you hear everything about ĎWhat are you doing here?í and things like that! You also have to look after yourself in your personal life. You have to wash, cook, clean etc and it makes you a better person.
Did you find your game had improved a lot after playing in New Zealand?
That was my first year at Civil Service, so going from Junior One to the Premier League would have been a massive jump. This probably reduced the jump in standard, and it was pretty even in terms of quality.
You now have another season of Premier League cricket under your belt. Do you feel better for it?
Definitely. Up until I broke my finger, I felt as good a player as I had ever been. When I broke my finger, that sort of set me back a bit and I felt I didnít have as good a end to the summer as I should have had.
Was the broken finger a big issue to overcome?
Whenever I came back, I was always thinking about it and if it could get hit again. It wasnít fully recovered. I had to come back because I was worried about not getting picked for the Challenge Cup final, so I came back a few weeks prior. I probably shouldnít have came back until the final itself, but it was definitely worth it.
That was your first Challenge Cup final. Was it enjoyable even though it didnít go your way?
What a day that was. From the build-up all week to the day of the final Ė it was incredible. To watch Marc Ellison, Andre Malan and Adam Dennison play on the big stage was absolutely incredible. Unfortunately I didnít do too well myself!
Getting to play with the likes of Ellison and Malan must help you a lot?
Yeah Itís fantastic. To work with those two is so good. Marc is a freak of the game, he loves it and he is incredible to be around. He knows everything about cricket.
There are a lot of young players in the CSNI squad. With you all having another season at the top level, do you think the club is capable of something special in 2019?
Definitely. I heard Andre will be coming back next season, and I think we are just one big player away from winning trophies.