IT’S one down and a possible four to go for CIYMS when they take to the field at The Green, in Comber, on Friday for the Gallagher’s Challenge Cup final against Instonians.

The newly crowned NCU Twenty20 winners have lost only twice this season – firstly in a group game against Waringstown in the T20 Cup, and surprisingly last weekend in the league against Carrick – and skipper Nigel Jones is “relaxed” about another big game. But then he should be, this is CI’s fourth domestic 50-over final in the last five years and their previous two wins have been against Instonians.

“Credit to Instonians, they are a good cup team and have players across the board who are dangerous with the bat and they have options with the ball. At times they are hit by injuries and that affects their league run but we can’t under-estimate them. On the day we both go into the game even and it will be a matter of who gets the momentum first and is able to put their foot down.”

Two years ago, Jones was man of the match, scoring 80 of his side’s 209-4 as they won by six wickets and in 2015 it was South Africa World Cup player Rassie van der Dussen who was the match winner; he actually scored two centuries in successive days in the one-day final!

“I remember it well,” says Jones. “The first game was washed out on the Friday but not before Rassie had scored a hundred and just to prove it wasn’t a fluke he came back the next day and hit 117 and this time it did count (as CI won by 50 runs).

“It was an incredible performance but look where he is now, although it’s no surprise to us. He was always set for bigger things and his World Cup call-up this year was fully deserved.”

Ironically, in the final that CI lost in 2016, to Civil Service North, the man of the match was Jason van der Merwe who was snapped up the following winter by Jones and he will be chasing a fourth successive winners’ medal on Friday, having also been in the CSN side which beat Waringstown in 2014.

“It’s a game when a player can put his hand up and get noticed,” adds Jones.”Cup final performances are always remembered so it’s an opportunity for someone to take the game by the scuff of the neck and do it again next Friday.”

Jones’ opposite number, Andrew White, will , of course be hoping it is someone from his side that does just that and if not the captain himself, who will be playing in his 10th cup final – 19 years after his first for North Down, when he was man of the match – then Murray Commins could fit the bill.

The South African is averaging 75 in Instonians’ cup run, although Obus Pienaar has a chance with both bat and ball, his latest match-winning innings for CI being 72 not out in the semi-final against CSN.

It will be a final worth watching to find out.