CSNI skipper Nigel Jones is expecting that his side will have a definite say in the title race and this weekend they face two vital home games, Waringstown bolstered by the return of Phil Eaglestone, James McCollum and Johnny Bushe, on Saturday and Lisburn on Sunday.
First though he is well aware that they have to put Sunday’s narrow defeat in the Ulster Shield behind them.
“Very disappointing; I would say we were in control of that game for 80% of the time. We were 132 for 2, batting well and then lost 5 wickets for 38 runs,” he said. “The problem was that none of the experienced players pushed on to make the winning contribution.
“The younger guys were left a bit exposed and we had three caught at long on when the scoreboard didn’t dictate that we needed to play that way.
“Looking at Waringstown they really do have strength in depth. We need to bring our A game and have a high intensity, then hope that perhaps they get a little complacent. What I am trying to instil in the guys is not to respect the person, but to respect the ball bowled and when the opportunity comes along to seize it,” he added.
“We have a young talented squad at the minute, plus some experienced guys. I reckon we have one of the best seam attacks in the league with Shane Getkate, Mark Adair, Allen Coulter, plus me.
“We have to manage AC, his shin splints are causing trouble and they flair up so it is one game a weekend for him at the minute. He will miss Saturday but play on Sunday.”
I asked Nigel to give us some insight into both Getkate and Adair.
“I am delighted that Shane came to us; he wants to develop his skills and thinks a lot about the game and he is always looking to pick my brains in the field which is fine,” he said.
“Mark Adair is probably quicker than any other local bowler, he needs to work on his mindset, sometimes he has a tendency to have more than one game plan at once and that makes it difficult to execute. Saturday will be his last game before going across to the Warwickshire Academy, but that is offset by having Christopher McMorran back.
“The squad is quite settled, the youngsters are developing and I think we will see the best of them in 2015, in the meantime we hope to rain on a few parades, and we enjoy doing that!”
So who impresses in the Waringstown line-up?
“James Hall, he now has a real maturity in his batting, he looks at ease with himself and confident at the crease. I suppose people will view this as our seam attack against their spinners.”
Saturday’s other games see Ballymena at home to Instonians and North Down facing CIYMS.