Tom Mayes has hit the ground running since signing for North Down ahead of the 2021 season and he’s hoping to carry that form into tomorrow’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Instonians and beyond.

The 20-year-old South African – who holds an Irish passport – was one of three new faces to join the Comber side during the close season and the fast bowler has collected 19 wickets in the 14 matches he has appeared in across formats so far.

His haul has come at an average of 21.32 and puts him fourth on the list of most successful seamers in all top-flight competitions in the current campaign.

Even more importance has been placed on Mayes and Peter Davison – who also has 19 wickets – with the new ball in the absence of Craig Young, and the duo have certainly stepped up to the challenge.

“I’m very happy with how I’ve gone,” said Mayes.

“I’m extremely happy that I’m contributing to the good performances that we have been producing so it has been brilliant.

“It’s a great club and team environment to play in. It only took me about a week to settle in because the guys have been very welcoming and are serious cricketers, which is all I was looking for.”

Mayes has been consistently selected for the new Emerging Knights side for this season’s Future Series competition, which they finished second in behind the unbeaten Leinster Lightning Bolts.

He picked up eight wickets and enjoyed the experience of playing alongside a group of players all striving towards a similar goal.

“Johnty (Simon Johnston) is a coach that understands players so it’s easy to work with him and it’s been great to get another side of coaching,” he added.

“It’s always great to work with new coaches and see their perspective on things.

“It’s been really good playing at that level of cricket with so many like-minded cricketers.”

Mayes picked up figures of 4-17 when North Down beat Instonians by six wickets in the Premier League earlier this season, and he will be looking to replicate that in tomorrow’s encounter.

Although playing in the Challenge Cup for the first time, the importance of the competition to both the current team and club in general hasn’t been lost on Mayes.

“I’m very excited and so are the lads at North Down,” he said.

“To have a chance at playing in a Challenge Cup final with the semis coming up would be brilliant and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“The excitement is there and we have been playing good cricket, so I’m hoping we can take that momentum and confidence into the next couple of weeks.”