Johnny Morton (www.jmsport.co.uk)
Aditya Adey marked his North Down debut with a match-winning performance on Saturday as he helped his new club to an eight-wicket victory over Carrickfergus.
Having picked up figures of 1-16 as Carrick were limited to 104/6 in 20 overs, Adey then scored 51* from 60 deliveries as North Down chased down the score with five balls to spare.
The all-rounder put on 78 for the second wicket with captain Alistair Shields, and while it wasn’t always fluent, Adey was delighted to kick off the season with a win.
“There was some time in the innings where the wicket was pretty slow and I couldn’t get off to a good start,” he said. “I’m just glad I was able to bat through the innings and help the team get a win.
“That’s one of the best things you can wish for from your first game. I’m happy with my first performance.”
Adey moved to The Green from Muckamore during the winter following their relegation from the Premier League last season.
He will be hoping that he is able to help North Down compete at the other end of the table this season and feels he has already picked up some valuable lessons from experienced team-mates.
“I’m loving it,” he added. “I’m learning loads and it’s great to have senior guys like Ruhan (Pretorius) there.
“All these people have played Premier League cricket or higher so they can all pass on experience to me. It’s great to be there and I’m enjoying it.”
Batting at the top of the order is what Adey wants to continue doing and there is a good chance he will find himself walking out to the middle with Irish international Paul Stirling at some point in the not too distant future.
Stirling is unavailable for the first few games due to his involvement in Ireland’s ODI series against England but Adey is excited by the prospect of opening with a player he watched when he first moved to Northern Ireland from India.
“I would love to having grown up watching him bat for Ireland all this time,” he said. “When I moved here, the first game I watched I was watching him bat so to open the batting with him would be amazing.
“It will be an amazing experience if I get the opportunity to do that.”
The season was delayed by almost three months due to the coronavirus pandemic but Adey used the time away from the pitch to get himself in better physical condition and that has already paid off.
“I feel good,” he said. “During the lockdown I was doing a lot of fitness and I was actually surprised I was able to bat through the whole 20 overs on Saturday!
“I’ve been known to struggle a couple of times when I get tired in the 15th over and let the team down in the last five.”
Adey was also named in a 28-man Northern Knights practice match squad for games at Shaws Bridge and Wallace Park. The first of those took place on Monday with Adey’s side, led by Marc Ellison, winning by six runs thanks to 55 from Instonians all-rounder James Hunter while Jacob Mulder picked up two wickets.
Adey, who scored 11* batting at six, should be involved again on Friday and is hoping a consistent run will help bring his game to another level.
“It was a very close game yesterday,” he said. “Being back with them is great. We are playing again on Friday and hopefully I can prove that I’m good enough to be there.
“Not selection wise, but it would put me in a good spot confidence wise.
“If I don’t perform, I will tell myself that I didn’t get selected and that’s fine, but if I play consistently my confidence and game will grow and that’s what I’m looking for this year.”