It was Northern Knights coach Simon Johnston who persuaded Ruhan Pretorius to stay in the NCU after it was announced that the former North Down professional is joining Woodvale for the 2021 season.

It was just three weeks ago that the Comber club made the shock decision to terminate the South African’s contract but it was always likely Pretorius, who is engaged to be married to a local girl and qualifies to play for Ireland at the end of next year would receive plenty of offers.

The 29-year-old said: Yes, I had a few offers from the North West and Dublin but it was always my preference to stay in the NCU and after speaking to Simon Johnston and playing for the Northern Knights would be the right thing to do.
“Woodvale have been brilliant and really on the ball with everything and I’m really forward to the cricket season now.”

Pretorius has already played seven times for the Knights, scoring 96 on his debut in 2019 against North West Warriors and he scored his second half century against Leinster Lightning at Comber in September this year.
It is the second major signing by Woodvale who were promoted back to the Premier League for the first time in 10 years at the end of 2019 season and finished sixth in the Robinson Services T20 League Cup this year.

It was only a month ago when the Ballygomartin Road club persuaded prolific opening batsman James Hall to leave Waringstown after 18 run-laden seasons at The Lawn, where he scored almost 12,000 runs and hit 17 centuries.

Meanwhile both the Men’s Under-19s and Women’s senior side will be heading to Scotland next summer for World Cup qualifying tournaments.

The Under-19s will be up against Denmark, Guernsey, Jersey, Netherlands and the hosts in the European qualifier for one spot in the finals in West Indies in early 2022, while the Women will face the Scots plus France, Germany, Netherlands and Turkey and will be hot favourites to progress to the final eight-team qualifier in 2022. From that event, the top two will join the seven highest ranked Full Member nations plus hosts South Africa at the T20 World Cup in February 2023.

The Under-19 qualifier takes place from July 30-August 5, with the women’s European qualifier following on August 26-30.