CRICKET: CIYMS snap up Hunter as Thompson heads back to Brigade

Johnny Thompson
Johnny Thompson

Brigade batsman Ryan Hunter is joining CIYMS with fast bowler Johnny Thompson going in the opposite direction.

Hunter, the talented left-hander, has agreed to move from Beechgrove to Belmont while Thompson will return to the north west after two successful years with CI.

Niall McDonnell

Niall McDonnell

Former North West Warriors batsman Niall McDonnell meanwhile, is rejoining Brigade after ending his stay with North West Premiership rivals Coleraine.

Thompson, who was a key part of the CI team that won a double of NCU Challenge Cup and Twenty20 Cup in 2015, said he was returning to the North West for family reasons.

“I really enjoyed my two years in the NCU with CI and I would like to think everyone at CI for what they have done for me,” he said. “The club understand my reasons for wanting to go back to the North West, it’s been a hard decision. I enjoyed every minute of my time in the NCU. The standard of cricket is really high and the highlight was winning the two trophies last year.”

Thompson is keen to return to interprovincial cricket with the Warriors after spending the last two years out of the set-up.

Ryan Hunter

Ryan Hunter

“I spoke to Andy Rose and to the Northern Knights guys and the reason why I wasn’t able to commit to the Knights was because I couldn’t commit to practice,” he continued. “I’ve missed being involved and I’m looking forward to getting back into contention with the Warriors. I’m 33 now and I know this is my last chance to get involved again.”

Thompson picked out his memories of playing alongside South African Rassie van der Dussen as a particular highlight of his two summers at Belmont.

“Rassie was an unbelievable player,” he said. “He made a hundred against Instonians in last year’s cup final and it didn’t count because the rain washed out the second innings. But he came to me that Friday night and said not to worry because he would make another hundred the following day. That’s exactly what he did, it was some effort to score a hundred two days in a row.”

Thompson, who held discussions with Coleraine before opting to return to Beechgrove, forecasts another positive season in 2017.

“I’m not sure whether Brigade will have a pro for next season, I think they are still looking at that, but they finished joint top this season and won the Ulster Cup, so hopefully I can help them go even better next summer,” he added.