North Down captain Alistair Shields is confident that Irish international Craig Young will make ‘a big difference’ this season as the Comber side go in search of silverware.
They have kicked the 2019 campaign off in tremendous fashion after beating CSNI twice in the space of three days and will take on defending champions CIYMS at Belmont on Saturday.
Young, who has played 13 ODI’s and 16 Twenty20’s for Ireland, made the switch to the NCU from Bready during the winter and claimed two wickets in his league debut last weekend.
He also has County experience having spent time with Sussex and Shields is confident that the 29-year-old will provide firepower to their bowling attack.
“He’s going to make a big difference this year, especially in the games at The Green,” he said.
“I know he is looking forward to those home games. He is an x-factor to our attack that we probably lacked last year, so we are looking forward to having him available as much as possible.”
It has been a busy few months for North Down who also signed AJ Moor, who hit 49* in Monday’s Twenty20, Jamie Magowan and Nathan Burns.
All three have already made a big impact in the two victories, and Shields is looking for the whole squad to keep putting in big performances in all competitions.
“Jamie has strengthened our batting line-up but hasn’t got a hit yet and has kept beautifully. Nathan has came back in and got a score on Monday, as did AJ, so I’m delighted,” he added.
CIYMS strolled to the Premier League title last season after winning 13 of their 14 matches, but North Down were the team that stopped them from recording a clean sweep after picking up a three-run victory on the opening day of the 2018 campaign.
They started their defence with a four wicket triumph at Lisburn last weekend and Shields is confident his squad are capable of beating any team on their day.
“The challenge for our guys is to repeat what we did last weekend and it’ll give us a chance,” he said. CI have a side full of match winners, but we think on our day that we are good enough to beat anyone. It’s just about putting that performance together.
“If we do manage to win on Saturday, we put ourselves in a good position having beat two of the top teams away from home. It’s not the end of the world if we lose a game at this stage of the season because it’s so early, but it would be good to put a marker down.”