Last week the second Ulster Bank NCU Senior League awards were held and covered performances throughout the month of July.
The awards are made to players in all four sections of the leagues who have scored centuries, taken at least six wickets or completed a hat trick.
It was an especially rewarding time for players in both Sections One and Two; equally it was noticeable that there were a number of occasions were more than one award was won in the same match.
One player though will have particular reason to remember July 2014 fondly and that is Bangor’s Andrew Nixon. It began on 5 July when he took 7-15 albeit in a losing cause against Carrickfergus.
Roll forward two weekends and things got even better, firstly on the Saturday he took 6-24 against Dundrum and then on Sunday displayed his aplomb with the bat, scoring a match winning 101 against Lurgan.
In between his teammate and Bangor professional Kuda Samunderu smashed 152 not out against Templepatrick.
Another multiple Ulster Bank award winner was Derriaghy’s Craig Lewis, again Dundrum feeling the brunt of his bowling prowess as he took 6-30 and then two weeks later scoring a century against Downpatrick.
There was also a double celebration for Carrickfergus as Jamie Holmes and Indrajeet Kamtekar, both scored centuries in the same game against Derriaghy.
Carrickfergus will be hoping that the theme of double celebrations can continue into this weekend as both players will be in the line-up for Sunday’s final of the RSA Irish National Cup at Downpatrick against North West side Killyclooney.
On Sunday the team booked their place in the final with a hard fought win down in Dublin against LCU side Dundrum. The Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 trophy already resides in the cabinet at Middle Road, hence the talk of doubles.
The following weekend another final awaits, this time the Ulster Shield and just for good measure they are also in second spot in the Ulster Bank League Section One, so there are all sorts of possibilities, including a unique quadruple.
I spoke with captain Iain Parkhill, ahead of what has the potential to be a remarkable few weeks for the club; firstly we looked back to the semi-final and ahead to the National Cup final.
Parkhill said: “[I am] delighted to be going to Downpatrick this weekend, it is a great place to play cricket. We have been there already three times this year, great deck, fantastic outfield and brilliant clubhouse facilities as well. For me it is just the place to have a cup final.
“Last weekend was a potential banana skin; people were waiting for us to slip up. All the expectations were on us, no matter what happened we were in a bit of a no win situation. It is an artificial wicket down there and let’s say Dundrum certainly made life interesting for us.
“We got off to a good start with Richard Hood picking up 3-20 and Jamie Holmes completing a good run out, so we had them reduced to 60 odd for 6, so in some ways it was disappointing that they made 200,” he added.
“The mat nullified our spinners to some degree with the ball just skidding on a damp surface and one of their players came in, hit the ball very cleanly and made 80 off 40 balls.
“Batting was tricky as well, a white ball with white house’s at one end and no sightscreens!. Gordy Browne our wicketkeeper came in at three as we lost a wicket early, he and I then put on over 100, and he batted really well.
“Then we had another bit of a wobble losing Jamie and Kami, but the big man saw us home.”