If Instonians can pull off a shock win over Waringstown at The Lawn on Saturday they will move one step closer to a top-three finish in the Robinson Services Premier League - something which captain Andrew White would consider “a fantastic achievement”.
The Belfast squad has been ravaged by injuries in 2018, with Nathan Smith and Nikolai Smith ruled out for the season and the likes of James Shannon, Robert McKinley and Stephen Bunting picking up knocks at various points.
Victory last weekend over Muckamore included no fewer than seven schoolboys - with White searching for a similar end product up against the reigning champions.
“To finish in the top three would say a lot about the strength-in-depth we have at the club,” said White. “We are a long way off the level that Waringstown have reached this year.
“If we have our full-strength squad available, we like to think we could match Waringstown and CIYMS in all departments.
“It’s a case of going out on Saturday and putting in a performance that gives us a chance of beating them.
“Many of them aren’t ready for a sustained run in the first eleven, but I think it opened their eyes to what is required and the higher intensity of Premier League games.
“Hopefully it has been an invaluable experience to those guys, especially for the likes of Matthew Humphreys and Ben Beattie who were there at the end to put on a partnership to win us the game.
“I think that is worth its weight in gold for those guys, but also us as a club.
“They are training and they want to be in and around the squad, so that bodes well for the future.”
Humphreys in particular is one to watch for the future, with his quality left-arm spin and ability to add runs towards the bottom of the order.
“He certainly has the attributes,” added White. “I’ve been impressed by his determination to do well and how calm he has been.
“Last Saturday he knew exactly what he wanted to do, but obviously he has a lot of work to do in certain areas.
“He bowls left-arm chinaman, and I can’t think off the top of my head of anyone else in the NCU who bowls it.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work from him to reach where he wants to get to in the game.”
Club stalwart Eugene Moleon has accepted a coaching role in South Africa but is expected to return to the NCU prior to next season.
White says the 41-year-old has had a great impact on cricket in this country.
“It’s very difficult to put into words, from an Instonians view and also in the local game,” he said. “He is a fantastic character and he has brought a lot of energy to everyone he has been in contact with.
“I don’t think it’s the end of Eugene in the NCU because he is on a six-month contract and will return here next summer.
“We are hoping to see plenty more of the big man yet.”