Carrickfergus have the first trophy of the season in their clubhouse and on the basis of yesterday’s opening game in the Premier League, they seem certain to be in contention over the longer format.

South African professional Jacques Snyman and former Glamorgan opening batsman Jeremy Lawlor have been restricted to 20 overs so far but, ominously for the other seven teams in the Northern Cricket Union’s top flight they can bat for up to 50 for the rest of the season – and that could spell big trouble.

North Down, the runners up in the last Premier League campaign in 2019, were the first to sample the Carrick experience over the maximum distance and Lawlor needed only 42 overs to score a chanceless 135 not out, to lead the new T20 champions to a crushing eight wickets victory.

Lawlor’s innings overshadowed Synman but only because the Proteas batsman lasted just 13 overs but still hit six fours and five sixes in a classy 70 off 40 balls. Two of his boundaries came from superbly timed reverse sweeps but going for a third, he missed a full toss and was plumb in front.

His dismissal, however, just inspired Lawlor to go even faster and after reaching his 100 in the next over, he used up only another 15 balls to score his final 35 runs to complete a memorable innings.

On a superb Middle Road pitch – and with a white ball in use for the first time in 50-over contests – it was a day for the batsmen although North Down needed 92 from the last six overs to get them up to their total of 267 for eight.

Peter Eakin had done the groundwork with 77 from 115 balls but the mayhem at the end came from Carl Robinson who hit half as many from just 13 balls, hitting three sixes and four fours while Andrew Haire also chipped in with 13 from five balls, including a huge straight six.

Still, Neil Gill, Ryan Eagleson and Snyman, who all bowled in the closing overs, each conceded less than five runs an over, a better economy than any of their opponents, although they didn’t have to bowl to Snyman or Lawlor.

CIYMS, however, have set the standard in recent years and the defending champions are in no mood to relinguish their crown.

They chased 231 at Stormont to beat Civil Service North who reached the final of the T20 Cup with seven wins out of seven, but CIYMS gained revenge for their semi-final defeat last Saturday with an exciting two wickets win.

With Mark Adair unavailable, David Miller was promoted to No 3 and he top scored with 50 from 54 balls, with four fours and three sixes and when he was one of Ben Mackey’s three victims, James Cameron-Dow almost finished the job with 32 from 35.

The best batting came from CSN, with Luke Georgeson batting for all but seven balls of the innings to score 90 although the fourth wicket stand of 112 was dominated by skipper Gary Wilson who hit 62 from 52 balls.

Waringstown, after a faltering T20 campaign, made a winning start after topping 300 against Instonians, mainly due to Andre Malan’s 110, but everyone at The Lawn will be even more delighted by a return to form of Adam Dennison who hit nine boundaries in his 78.

Instonians, as they invariably do at the Lawn, put up a spirited response, with half centuries from Shane Getkate (67 off 49 balls) and 19-year-old Cade Carmichael (78 off 66) but they were bowled out 47 runs short.

Woodvale won their first game of the season thanks to a superb unbeaten century from Aditya Adey. The Emerging Knight hit 12 fours and four sixes in his 118 which dominated the second half of the innings. When James Hall was out for 59, in the 28th over with the total on 114, Adey scored all but 48 of the remaining runs off the bat.

Lisburn were 107 for eight in reply but Jonathan Waite with 60 from No 10 (five fours, four sixes) brought some respectability to the visitors, although they still lost by 73 runs.