Cricket: Rumour mill from NCU, North West and Leinster

Johnny Thompson is the subject of much speculation
Johnny Thompson is the subject of much speculation

The local cricket rumour mill is gathering pace with a number of players likely to be on the move between now and the start of the 2018 season.

Tyrone Kane, the Merrion, Leinster Lightning and Ireland man, has attracted interest from Civil Service North, who have been flexing their muscles since last season’s brush with relegation. Morgan Topping has already moved to Stormont from Waringstown and it is thought CSNI won’t rest there as they attempt to boost their squad.

Tyrone Kane of Leinster Lightning is thought to be a target for CSNI

Tyrone Kane of Leinster Lightning is thought to be a target for CSNI

The Belfast club are also studying a target list of overseas professionals, with Pakistani Mansoor Amjad definitely not returning.

Muckamore are resigned to the fact that neither Ryan Haire or Iftikhar Hussain are returning to the club. Former Ireland batsman Haire is moving on after three seasons in a player-coach role at Moylena while Hussain is expected to return to the North West and rejoin Brigade despite enjoying a stellar 2017 when Muckamore comfortably remained in the top flight. Haire’s likely destination is thought to be a return to home-town club North Down

Muckamore are also uncertain whether Jarred Barnes will be joining them as planned. The South African-born seamer, who spent last summer with Armagh in Section One, is still struggling to overcome citizenship issues that ruled him out of playing as a local in the Premier League a year ago. Neil Gill’s men are also still pursuing overseas professional options.

Johnny Thompson, the much-travelled former CIYMS, Glendermott and Donemana man, has been linked with a number of clubs after relations with Brigade allegedly soured at the end of last season.

Ryan Haire is leaving Muckamore, with North Down thought to be the likely destination

Ryan Haire is leaving Muckamore, with North Down thought to be the likely destination

The North West Warriors seamer has attracted interest from CI, where he spent a hugely successful period, and several North West clubs, with the NCU thought to be his favoured choice.

Steve Lazars, the former Ballymena and Lisburn all-rounder, is another man who could be on the move. Lazars spent last year at Coleraine in the North West Premiership but is thought to be keen on a move back to the NCU. A return to Armagh, the Premier League new boys, is one possibility.

Instonians have told the News Letter that they will once again not be recruiting an overseas first-class professional and instead are expected to bring in a young cricketer.

The Shaw’s Bridge club, now captained by Ireland chairman of selectors Andrew White, have refuted speculation linking them with James Cameron-Dow, the South African-born left-arm spinner who has played for both North Down and CIYMS.

Iftikhar Hussain is linked with a return to Brigade after a season with Muckamore

Iftikhar Hussain is linked with a return to Brigade after a season with Muckamore

Steve Lazars is believed to be seeking a return to the NCU

Steve Lazars is believed to be seeking a return to the NCU