Rival captains’ shared faith in next generation ahead of league clash
Instonians captain Andrew White will be absent for today’s clash with CSNI - but is backing his young squad to shine.
White is National Chair of Men’s Selectors at Cricket Ireland and will be in Pembroke watching the first Inter-Provincial Twenty20 Trophy Festival, which got under way yesterday.
He will have a keen eye on his club team-mate Shane Getkate, who has started the season in brilliant form and will be one of the North West Warriors’ key men.
Getkate has played 18 times for Ireland across formats, with his last appearance coming against Afghanistan in March 2020. But his performances during the current campaign have put him firmly in the conversation for series against South Africa and Zimbabwe later this summer.
The all-rounder has scored 302 runs for Instonians at an average of 60.40, which included a stunning 94* against eventual LVS Twenty20 Cup champions Carrickfergus.
“He has been excellent,” said White. “He has always had those performances in him and I think anybody who has watched him over the years will know what he’s capable of.
“The most impressive thing this year has been his consistency and not only that but the manner in which he has started his innings.
“He has started at a high tempo and continued that through, whereas in previous years he may have been slightly tentative starting and taken longer to assert his authority.
“He’s been fabulous to watch and long may it continue.
“I know he worked very closely with Simon Johnston, who got very good performances out of him - and I know he will respond well to Gary Wilson too.
“I hope he can not only continue that form with us but with the Warriors and push for inclusion in the national set-up later in the summer.”
The Shaws Bridge outfit have brought in Cain Robertson and Cade Carmichael this season, with the latter scoring 78 on debut last weekend in defeat to Waringstown.
And White will be hoping for more of the same this weekend.
“Both Cain and Cade have came across from South Africa...Cain to live here...and they both have ambitions to settle here and see how far they can go with their cricket,” he added. “They both fit the age profile of our team very well and are both exciting talents.
“Cain is a left-arm spinner and Cade batted beautifully on Saturday and showed his ability...they are great additions.
“A lot of people talk about the young nature of our side but it’s not something we talk about in the club.
“They are the players we want to see come through but don’t treat them as young players.
“We put pressure on them to try and perform at the level they are capable of.
“They are working hard in training and we want them to set the standards you’d expect at any club.
“They are all striving to get into the Emerging Knights, the Knights and go as far as they can.”
CSNI will be looking to get back to winning ways in the Robinson Services Premier League.
The Stormont side picked up seven consecutive victories to start their season off before losing the LVS Twenty20 Cup final against Carrickfergus and began their 50-over campaign with defeat to defending champions CIYMS.
They will be without Luke Georgeson, Ross Adair and Ben White, who are all in the Northern Knights squad in Pembroke, while captain Gary Wilson will also be there in his role of North West Warriors head coach.
Stuart Thompson will be available for CSNI as will Matthew Foster, who has regularly been involved with the Knights - and rather than looking at the negatives of missing star players, stand-in skipper Ben Adair is focusing on the potential opportunity.
“People see it as tough and not easy, but we actually see it the other way,” he said. “We see it as a hell of a chance for the youngsters.
“These guys are training with us every week and aren’t just turning up to be net bowlers.
“They are turning up and putting us under the pump and giving a few bits of chirp, which is great.
“It’s probably a wee bit early for some of them but I have faith in what they can deliver and, seeing what they are capable of in the nets and in second XI games, I have no doubt they can stand up and perform against Instonians.”
Adair has been one of the standout performers for CSNI this season, picking up 10 wickets, while Ben Mackey – who arrived from Armagh ahead of the 2021 campaign – has also collected 10.
Mackey, 22 years old, currently has the best average (14.70) of any bowler in the top-flight, while his strike-rate of 15.10 can only be bettered by Carrick’s Neil Gill (15).
“I’m happy enough but let’s not beat about the bush – the batters make it very easy for me when they post big totals,” added Adair. “Something I’ve noticed in recent years is that bowling in a partnership is a big thing for me.
“If the guy at the other end is getting hit around the place, then they can milk me but I want batters coming after me.
“Ben Mackey has been so good.
“I think he’s always going to be an awkward bowler to face with his action.
“Coming on in the middle overs he has been unbelievable and I think he has taken a lot of batters by surprise.
“He hits the bat very hard and he’s a guy we will be calling on to get through plenty of overs.
“He gives you everything he can in the field too.
“He’s driving up and down the road, hasn’t missed a training session and will be the first there for pizza and beers as well...he’s a good guy to have about.”
Other fixtures: Carrickfergus v Woodvale; Lisburn v CIYMS; North Down v Waringstown.