Ulster Bank NCU Premier League champions Instonians have been forced to start a fresh search for an overseas professional with the new season just weeks away.
Keegan Petersen, the 23-year-old South African who had signed to join the Shaw’s Bridge club, has pulled out of his contract.
The Cape Cobras leg-spinner and top-order batsman is changing franchises in South Africa and his new employers want him to remain at home over the southern hemisphere winter.
Inst have already started the search for a replacement, but that may be no easy task, with clubs all around the UK still understood to be in the market for overseas professionals.
Premier League champions in three of the last four seasons, Inst have identified coaching as an big priority with whoever they sign because of a burgeoning youth set-up at Shaw’s Bridge and a commitment to provide coaching in a number of schools in their catchment area.
Petersen had been recruited on the basis that he committed to over 20 hours’ coaching per week.
Rusty Theron was Instonians’ overseas professional last summer and while he was economical with the ball, he only finished the campaign with 14 wickets. His batting proved to be the stronger part of his game, as he struck 376 runs at an average of more than 32.
Inst are certainly blessed with plenty of bowling resources, with Nathan Smith, Robert McKinley, Stephen Bunting and captain Nikolai Smith part of the league’s most potent seam-bowling outfit. James Shannon heads up a formidable batting line-up.
Inst are not the first club this winter to see their professional plans ripped up. CIYMS have already changed their plans with prolific batsman Aiden Markram withdrawing and being replaced by Matt McGillivray.