Double joy for Carrick
Carrickfegus started their LVS Twenty20 Cup campaign in style by collecting two victories over the weekend against Lisburn and Woodvale.
After a disappointing 2020 season which ended without a win in any of their six Robinson Services Cup matches, the Middle Road side wasted no time in trying to set the record straight this time around.
On Friday evening at Wallace Park it was the Jacques Snyman show as the South African international clobbered 121 from 61 balls in an innings that included 15 fours and seven sixes.
That helped Carrick record a comfortable 116-run victory and Snyman, who was absent last season but scored over 1000 runs in his maiden campaign in 2019, impressed once again the following day away to Woodvale in a reduced 12-overs per side game.
Opening the batting alongside captain Michael Gilmour he upped his strike-rate to 63 from 21 deliveries before being bowled by Paul Robinson, but the damage had been done and Carrick secured another routine 68-run win.
It puts them second in the table behind unbeaten CSNI and they now have a more than healthy net run-rate which could prove important when it comes to qualification for the semi-finals later this month.
Snyman, who made his international debut against Pakistan in February, is undoubtedly one of the most exciting players to watch in the league and Gilmour was understandably delighted with his early contributions.
“He batted incredibly well both games,” he said.
“The guys are all happy to have him back and the new guys have enjoyed playing with him too.
“He is a class act, so we’re all hoping he can keep working hard and have another fantastic season at Carrick.”
Snyman’s arrival back at Carrick coincides with batsman Jeremy Lawlor and seamer Graeme McCarter signing for the club and gives Carrick’s squad a formidable look.
Lawlor – who is also part of the Northern Knights – scored 51 runs across the two games while McCarter collected the vital wicket of Woodvale opener James Hall on Saturday.
“They are two great guys to have in the team, both on and off the field,” added Gilmour.
“They’ve got off to a good start at Carrick and both are really looking forward to lots of cricket ahead.
“They’re ideal additions to the team and hopefully they can continue to contribute as much as they’re capable of.”
Neil Gill was the standout bowler over the weekend, collecting combined figures of 6-20 across the six overs he bowled, including a remarkable 4-9 at Wallace Park which included dismissing Lisburn’s dangerous top three.
The 34-year-old signed from Muckamore ahead of last season but with the shortened campaign he wasn’t able to show his true quality.
He forms a superb new-ball partnership with McCarter and it appears the former Ireland U19 international is back to somewhere near his best.
“Giller is such a battler and always has such a great energy,” said Gilmour.
“He’s a competitive cricketer and I’m not surprised at how well he’s started this weekend.
“Hopefully he can build on it too and continue to prove how good he is.”
Carrick have consistently finished in the top-half of the table in recent years, putting in a string of impressive performances but not able to threaten at the business end of competitions.
The weekend is a good start as they aim to pick up some silverware in 2021 but Gilmour isn’t getting carried away and will be looking for his side to take every match as it comes in a competitive league.
“It was two good wins for us to start with this weekend and a lot of positives to see, however we have a lot more difficult games to come so we just need to make sure we continue to work hard,” he added.
“Obviously we would love to win something this season.
“We’re a confident team and everyone is very keen to get their hands on trophies.
“It has been a positive couple of games, but it’s a long season ahead, so we just need to keep working hard and build on this start.”
Elsewhere, Donacloney Mill sit top of the Robinson Services Section One table after they beat Bangor by 46 runs on Saturday.
Derriaghy also continued their unbeaten start to the season by recording a 27-run victory over Armagh on The Mall while Cliftonville Academy picked up an impressive four points against a Cregagh side that will be considered favourites to gain Premier League promotion.
There were also victories for Saintfield who beat Ballymena by eight wickets in a reduced 17-overs per side game and Templepatrick got the better of neighbours Muckamore by a margin of 23 runs.
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