Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
MURRAY Commins was still waiting last night to be given the go-ahead to play for CIYMS, after arriving in the country with the wrong visa.
After consultations between Cricket Ireland and the Home Office in the UK, Commins was allowed to play for Munster Reds in their opening inter-provincial yesterday against North West Warriors, but the NCU were insisting on confirmation that he was cleared to play at club level.
CIYMS captain Nigel Jones said last night that he has been selected for the first match of the season, against Woodvale tomorrow in the Lagan Valley Steels T20 Cup.
Murray Commins batting for Munster Reds at Eglinton on Thursday
“We have registered him to play and he is not here as a professional player. We hope to see him in action on Saturday,” said Jones.
The Cup holders have also signed North West Warriors all-rounder Graham Kennedy from Ballyspallen but will be without Jacob Mulder, who has returned home to Australia.
Woodvale are enjoying life in the top flight for a second successive year and are assured of a third because there is no relegation as the Premier League will next year return to 10 teams.
Not that the Ballygomartin Road side expect to be flirting with the basement after snapping up Ruhan Pretorius and Aditya Adey from North Down and James Hall from Waringstown.
North Down, who begin with an away game against Carrickfergus, have lost James Magowan back to Muckamore but he will be replaced behind the stumps by Indian-born Aniruddha Chore, who has played for Oman ‘A’.
The other new faces are Sri Lankan professional Gayan Maneeshan, a top-order bat and occasional off-spinner, and 19-year-old seam bowler Tom Mayes, a South African Irish passport holder.
Carrick have also been busy in the transfer market with Jeremy Lawlor, from Phoenix, Graeme McCarter, from Civil Service North, and on-loan Neil Rock, from Rush, plus the return of South African professional Jacques Snyman who, like Maneeshan, has completed quarantine on arrival.
McCarter and Rock, along with North Down’s Craig Young, will miss the game because they will be in a bubble ahead of the Ireland Wolves’ three-match series against Netherlands ‘A’, which starts in Oak Hill on Monday.
Instonians and Civil Service North, who meet at Shaw’s Bridge, are in a similar situation, without Shane Getkate and Ben White respectively, but CSN, who have replaced departed captain James Kennedy with Gary Wilson, will have their other new signings available; Luke Georgeson, who has already made his Northern Knights debut, Lewis Adair and Ben Mackey.
The two new names for Instonians skipper Andrew White are Nathan Cole (pictured right), who opened the bowling for St Johnston last year, and Cian Robertson, a South African slow left-armer who is living in Belfast.
The other game tomorrow is at The Lawn where Graham Hume will make his debut for Waringstown although new professional Andre Malan only arrived from Cape Town on Wednesday night so will miss at least the first two games, with the second round scheduled for next Thursday or Friday.
Opponents Lisburn are in an identical position although captain Adam Berry is just glad that Faiz Fasal has got out of India and is currently quarantining in London, but more immediately Boyd Rankin is set to make his long-awaited debut, 10 months after signing in at Wallace Park.
Elsewhere in the NCU, it is T20 cup competitions for Sections Two and Three but Section One teams go straight into their 18-match Robinson Services League campaign, albeit with a maximum of 20 overs for now.
Saturday Fixtures (2pm) - Lagan Valley Steels T20 Cup: Carrickfergus v North Down, CIYMS v Woodvale (11.30am), Instonians v Civil Service North (1pm), Waringstown v Lisburn.
Robinson Services League Section One: Armagh v Bangor, Ballymena v Derriaghy, Cregagh v Templepatrick, Donaghcloney Mill v Muckamore (noon), Saintfield v Cliftonville Academy.
LVS T20 Shield: Holywood v BISC (12.30pm), Laurelvale v Dundrum, Lurgan v Cooke Collegians (1pm).
LVS T20 Bowl: Donaghadee v Victoria (1pm), Dunmurry v Ards, Larne v Drumaness Superkings.