Cricket: Double boost for North Down ahead of new season

Jay Hunter will replace the injured Peter Shields behind the stumps
Jay Hunter will replace the injured Peter Shields behind the stumps

North Down have confirmed the appointment of 28 year-old South African Craig Yelverton as head coach for the 2017 season, and the signing of wicket-keeper batsman Jay Hunter from Templepatrick.

Yelverton is the current coach of Durban Premier League side Berea Rovers and as a Cricket South Africa Level II qualified coach has vast coaching experience, including with the Nashua Dolphins Academy in his home city.

Jay Hunter has joined North Down from Templepatrick

Jay Hunter has joined North Down from Templepatrick

As well as working closely with players at all levels in both the men’s and ladies’ senior club, he will have a vital role to play alongside North Down’s new Youth Cricket co-ordinator Billy Dale in delivering high quality coaching to a rejuvenated youth section, and continuing the club’s commitment to providing coaching to primary schools in the local community.

Hunter, 22, is a former Ulster and Irish Schools representative who is an aggressive right-handed batsman, who also enjoyed a spell with Muckamore. It is with the gloves that he will initially play a vital role at The Green. He will replace veteran ‘keeper Peter Shields who has been ruled out behind the stumps for the foreseeable future after suffering a double fracture to his ankle last month.

“We’re delighted to have appointed our first club coach, as opposed to just a first team coach, and look forward to Craig’s arrival next week,” said club chairman Shields. “He has a busy schedule with the season just around the corner but I know he is looking forward to getting settled in and starting work.”

North Down’s new professional, Ruhan Pretorius, smashed 122 from just 120 balls for KwaZulu-Natal Inland in a one-day game yesterday against Western Province in Cape Town in South African’s domestic competition.