Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
STUART Thompson is one of two changes to the North XII for today’s return Development match against the South in Malahide.
Thompson replaces Brigade’s Ross Allen, who is unavailable for the 2pm clash, while Nathan McGuire, who will be playing for the North West Warriors this season, comes in for the injured Conor Olphert.
The North team have plenty to prove after being bowled out for 84 in the first game at Lisburn last Thursday and the introduction of Thompson, who has played 47 T20 games for Ireland, should boost the batting line-up.
He has been named as opener, with his Civil Service North team-mate Ross Adair.
Carl Robinson, who missed the game at Wallace Park, plays today and he was one of the chief destroyers as North Down eased past CSN on Saturday.
Robinson dismissed Thompson and Ireland colleague Gary Wilson in successive overs as CSN collapsed to 52-4 to effectively end their hopes of chasing the visitors’ 172-5.
Paul Stirling, on his second appearance for North Down, comfortably won the battle of the big hitters.
The Ireland opener hit 47 from 27 balls with three fours and four sixes — three of them off successive balls from Adair — and with Ryan Haire finishing the innings in a hurry, 43 (two fours, four sixes) off just 18 balls, even Stirling’s scoring rate was left in the shade.
The previous week, CSN openers Marc Ellison and Adair had blasted 156 in just 12 overs but on Saturday they were both back in the pavilion in the third over; Adair bowled by Ruhan Pretorius for four and Ellison bounced out by Craig Young for 16.
Robinson and Peter Davison each finished with three wickets to send North Down into next week’s showdown at The Green as joint leaders with CIYMS.
The champions, with the help of Chris Dougherty’s 42 from 28 balls, Jason van der Merwe’s 33 and two sixes from James Cameron Dow in his 21 not out from 10 balls, reached 159-7, but after 11 overs of the reply, Waringstown were 101-2 and seemingly coasting to victory.
But Greg Thompson was run out, one short of his 50, in the next over and when James McCollum was bowled by Allen Coulter for 57, the Villagers were 125-7 with just 21 balls left. Missing both Kyle McCallan, still suffering the effects of last week’s blow to the forehead, and Marcus McClean who broke his nose at practice, CI won by 18 runs.
Instonians are still on course for a top four finish and a place in the knock-out semi-finals after hammering Woodvale by 91 runs.
Shane Getkate, who will captain the North XII again today, warmed up with 56 from 41 balls but he was upstaged by teenager Jack Dickson, who finished 73 not out from 42 balls with six fours and five sixes in Inst’s 175-6.
Woodvale never threatened and, when Andrew White came on, they collapsed from 70-5 to 84 all out, the captain having figures of 4-12 from three overs.
Lisburn left Carrickfergus at the bottom of the table when they recorded their first win by six wickets, after bowling out their visitors for 90.
It tells only half the story, however, because Carrick were 46-9 after 16 overs, only for 4th XI player Barry Venus and Callum Styles, in only his second senior game, to add 44 for the last wicket.
Venus hit two fours and two sixes in his 24 not out from 15 balls and Styles had three fours in his 18 not out off 12 balls. Lisburn’s Josh Manley, another player heading to Malahide today, took 2-12 in his four overs.
Adam Berry promoted himself to open the batting and, as usual, top scored with 33 before Jonathan Waite hit the winning boundary with 23 balls to spare.
Civil Service North will play Waringstown in the final of the Women’s Challenge Cup after comfortable wins in their semi-finals yesterday. Sophie Thomas and Charlotte Lyons won the respective player of the match awards.
And Saintfield will meet Cregagh in the T20 Trophy final on Sunday-week after the Belfast side eased to a 10 wickets victory over Ballymena in the second semi-final.
Adam McCormick took three wickets and followed up with 41 not out in an opening stand of 96 in just 11.4 overs.
T20 Trophy semi-final
Eaton Park: Ballymena 93 (J Glass 36; A McCormick 3-12, D Cooper 2-13, A Beattie 2-12) Cregagh 96-0 (J Moore 48 not out, A McCormick 41 not out). Cregagh won by 10 wickets.
Women’s Challenge Cup semi-finals
Pollock Park: Lurgan 113-2 (S McCallan 28, S Hinds 25 not out, E McMurray 21; A Healy 2-17) Civil Service North 114-5 (18 overs, S Thomas 44, S Rountree 25 not out; C Rainey 2-14). CSN won by 5 wickets.
The Lawn: Muckamore 136-5 (J David 32, A Caulfield 29) Waringstown 137-3 (18.5 overs, C Lyons 43, M Mathers 21; N Niblock 2-12). Waringstown won by seven wickets.
• THE NCU have announced the death of their former chairman, Harold McCrory, a long-time Laurelvale member. Sympathy is extended to the family circle.