Cricket: Andrew Cowden quits CSNI captaincy

Andrew Cowden on his way to a man-of-the-match display in the 2014 Challenge Cup final
Andrew Cowden on his way to a man-of-the-match display in the 2014 Challenge Cup final

Andrew Cowden has quit the captaincy of NCU Challenge Cup holders Civil Service North after just three weekends of the new cricket season.

Cowden stood down on Wednesday after more than two seasons in the job.

CSNI celebrate winning the Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup last summer

CSNI celebrate winning the Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup last summer

He will be replaced by all-rounder Graeme McCarter, the Ireland international bowler, with winter arrival James Kennedy the vice-captain.

CSNI have had a disastrous start to the campaign, losing both their opening Premier League matches to Lisburn and North Down, and also exiting the Irish Cup at The Hills on Saturday. They lost narrowly to Instonians in their opening Twenty20 Cup game.

It has been a tough winter for CSNI, with first Jason van der Merwe quitting the club for neighbours CIYMS. Then there was a protracted battle with Instonians over Shane Getkate, with the Dubliner eventually moving to Shaw’s Bridge last week despite CSNI’s initial best efforts to keep him.

Cowden’s finest moment as skipper came last year when he led the club to their second Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup final victory in three years at The Green in Comber. Van der Merwe gave a virtuoso display as CSNI edged out CIYMS in a thrilling final to lift the trophy.

Graeme McCarter of Ireland and the Northern Knights is the new CSNI captain

Graeme McCarter of Ireland and the Northern Knights is the new CSNI captain

Cowden was also man-of-the-match as CSNI surprised Waringstown in the 2014 rain-affected final. He succeeded long-time skipper Nigel Jones in the job for the 2015 campaign.