LOCAL CRICKET: Burns leaves CIYMS for North Down

Nathan Burns
Nathan Burns

North Down have strengthened their squad ahead of the NCU Premier League season with the surprise signing of CIYMS batsman Nathan Burns.

The 22-year-old returns to his home-town club after three seasons at Belmont.

Burns’ move continues the pattern of one of the busiest close seasons in the NCU in recent memory.

North Down were keen to strengthen their batting with Taimur Khan, the all-rounder, having joined Section One club Bangor as player-coach. Burns contributed to CI’s cup double last season, not least when he struck a vital half-century against North Down in the Challenge Cup quarter-final at The Green. Overall, he scored 242 useful runs at an average of 18.16.

CI meanwhile will start the 2016 season in less a month with a much-changed squad.

Trevor Britton confirmed last month that he was joining Bonds Glen in the North West while James Cameron-Dow, the left-arm spinner, will also not be returning because of work commitments in South Africa.

However, CI have strengthened their bowling attack with the signings of left-arm spinner Zach Rushe from Instonians and Allen Coulter, the fast bowler, moving from neighbours CSNI. The headline signing was the capture of Justin Kemp, the big-hitting South African all-rounder, as overseas professional.

It is believed CI are still actively trying to add to their first-team squad before the campaign gets under way.