Carrickfergus captain Michael Gilmour says Neil Gill has been a ‘perfect fit’ at the club since joining from Muckamore.
Gill, who captained the Moylena side for the best part of a decade, moved to Carrick during the winter following Muckamore’s relegation from the Premier League last season.
The 33-year-old will likely open the bowling for his new team when they get their Robinson Services Cup campaign underway with a trip to North Down on Saturday.
Carrick have also welcomed Michael Armstrong back to the club ahead of the new season but have lost Harry Warke, Jack Burton (both Woodvale), Max Burton and Matthew McCord (both Cliftonville Academy).
With his experience and will to win, Gilmour is delighted to have Gill at Middle Road.
“Giller is an incredible guy to have at the club,” he said. “Every time I’ve played against him, he’s always been such a competitor with a great attitude.
“He’s dying to win things too, so he’s been a great addition on and off the field. “I think his experience and determination makes him the perfect fit at Middle Road.”
Another player that Carrick will be without for the upcoming campaign is overseas professional Jacques Snyman. The South African scored over 1000 runs in his maiden NCU campaign in 2019 and went on to register a half-century against England for a Cricket South Africa Invitational XI in January.
His absence will undoubtedly be felt but Gilmour will be looking to the rest of his squad to step up and put in some big performances.
“We would have loved to have had Jacques over as he’s proven how much of a quality player he is for us, and what he’s done back home in South Africa has been incredible too,” he added.
“Playing without a guy like that in your team is a huge loss, but at the same time it does give others the opportunity to step up and put in some match winning performances.”
Carrick have been remarkably consistent in the Premier League in recent years, finishing in the top-half for the past four seasons, but there will be a new challenge this time round with the league campaign now being contested in the Twenty20 format.
There will also still be a LVS Twenty20 Cup, in which Carrick will host Lisburn on July 26, but it is a competition that they haven’t progressed past the group stage in since 2016.
Gilmour will be hoping the added freedom this year could bring will help inspire Carrick to push even harder to win some silverware.
“The last few year have definitely been great for the club,” he said. “We’ve been improving a lot and regularly finishing at the top end of the league.
“Our team is full of ambitious players who want to win competitions, so this year will be no different.
“There’s still two great competitions to play for this season and we will be very keen to push for some silverware.
“I definitely think we will be able to play with a bit more freedom, especially as T20 naturally has that essence, but we still want to play the best cricket we can in order to win something.
“There definitely will still be that pressure in big games as I know there won’t be any Premier League teams just going through the motions.
“It’s definitely something different than we’re used to but it’ll be the same hard, gritty and competitive matches that we expect.
“We always want to win every match we play in and we’re excited to get it started this weekend.”