Nigel Jones praises CIYMS after perfect weekend

CIYMS captain Nigel Jones.
CIYMS captain Nigel Jones.

After another perfect weekend for defending Robinson Services Premier League champions CIYMS, captain Nigel Jones praised the character and depth of his squad.

The Belmont side left it to the last over to record a four-wicket victory over North Down at Belmont on Saturday before beating Muckamore by eight wickets at Moylena on Sunday.

Jones was without three of his regular XI for Saturday’s triumph with Mark Adair playing against the West Indies for Ireland and David Robinson and Jason van der Merwe also absent.

Irish international James Cameron-Dow would prove to be the hero with his huge six securing all four points for the home side as they chased North Down’s total of 197 with only four balls remaining.

“It was one of those that the wicket got a little bit slower and lower as the match went on,” said Jones of Saturday’s match.

“We were missing three or four boys and had a couple of young guys in getting experience in terms of the Firsts, but it probably leaves us a little bit light in terms of bowling options and batting depth.

“We have a quality team and they had to stand up. We only had five bowlers who bowled their 10. When we were batting, we kept losing wickets that kept them in the game.

“Thankfully with the job we did in the first innings on a better batting wicket, we kept them under 200 and for us to get across the line is a great effort.”

North Down were the only team that could beat CIYMS in the Premier League last season after recording an opening day three-run win, and Jones admits his mind was flashing back to that game as the overs ticked by.

“We lost one against North Down last season and that gave us the kick we needed and we went unbeaten after that” he added.

“Today, I must admit, it was probably playing on the mind a little bit with North Down again.

“These are the games you remember - the tight ones where you get across the line when maybe you shouldn’t.”

Jones will likely be without Adair again for next weekend’s clash against Carrickfergus due to further international commitments, but he is looking forward to having everyone back available and firing.

“We said at the start of the year that we have a strong 12 and we will have some youngsters outside of that,” he said.

“If we are all available, we are singing and dancing most weeks and it’s just about getting the process right. We were a little more vulnerable with some bigger players away and some youngsters in.

“We know we will have to scrap some wins and today was one of those. We have another win in the column and will have another couple back in next week and we will be firing.”

Overseas Obus Pienaar top-scored against Muckamore with 65* while John Matchett also hit a half-century as they chased a total of 171.