Jeremy Bray, the former Ireland batsman, has rejoined CIYMS for the rest of the season.
The left-hander, who played a key role in CI’s title-winning success in 2012, is expected to return for CI’s NCU Premier League game against Lisburn at Wallace Park next Saturday.
It is a timely signing by CI who have confirmed that Rassie van der Dussen, the prolific South African professional, is to return home early at the request of his franchise, the Highveld Lions.
Van der Dussen is expecting to go home in the middle of August and under NCU rules you cannot replace an overseas player unless he is injured or receives an international call-up. As a qualified Irish player Bray’s eligibility is beyond dispute and he is available immediately.
Bray had been coaching the Danish national side but despite being affiliated to Dublin YMCA, the New South Welshman was keen to return to the NCU.
Transfer forms were signed and Bray’s registration was confirmed last night by the NCU.
Bray is available for both the NCU Premier League and Ulster Cup, but he will not be eligible to play in the NCU Challenge Cup, with CI due to face Waringstown in a replay next Sunday.
A CI spokesman said: “We are delighted to confirm the signing of Jeremy Bray. He was a popular and influential member of the squad when we won the Premier League title in 2012. Rassie van der Dussen is heading back to South Africa in August and it’s important that we have got someone of Jeremy’s calibre as his replacement.
“We’re pleased that Jeremy is available to slot into team straight away, starting at Lisburn next weekend. Talking to Jeremy, he is delighted as well because he really enjoyed his first year in the NCU.”
Bray’s team-mates were informed of his impending arrival by coach Brett Mulder on Thursday night, with the club revealing that the former Ireland women’s coach will also have coaching responsibilities.
CI also confirmed that Ryan Butterworth will not be returning to Belmont this summer with the Zimbabwean all-rounder still in his home country because of a family illness.
There is just one Premier League match this weekend with Waringstown due to entertain Ballymena in a rearranged game at The Lawn on Saturday. The weather forecast for Saturday is bleak however and the match faces being washed out for a second time. The teams would get a third opportunity however, albeit in Twenty20 format.
Incredibly, if the match does succumb to the elements, it will be the fifth occasion this season Waringstown have seen a game washed out.
With much of the focus on Sunday’s Twenty20 interpro day at Comber, there is just one fixture scheduled in Section One that day, with struggling Dundrum entertaining Holywood.