Jamie Magowan returns to Muckamore

Wicketkeeper Jamie Magowan has returned to Muckamore from Premier League side North Down.

Magowan left the Moylena club for Comber ahead of the 2019 campaign and helped them win the Robinson Services Cup last season.

He played seven times for the Northern Knights between 2016 and 2017, making his First Class debut against the North West Warriors at The Green.

Magowan has established a reputation for himself as one of the best wicketkeeper’s in the NCU and finished last season with the most dismissals (16 from 10 matches).

He will be stepping down a league into Section One as Muckamore look to gain promotion back to the top tier of local cricket following their relegation in 2019.

“I am delighted to be back at my home club,” said Magowan.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the past few seasons at North Down, but the opportunity to come back to Muckamore and be part of a young exciting team was something I couldn’t say no to.”

CSNI sign New Zealand U19 international Luke Georgeson

CSNI have made their first addition ahead of next season by signing New Zealand U19 all-rounder Luke Georgeson.

Georgeson, who is an Irish passport holder, was named in the New Zealand squad for the 2018 competition where the host nation finished eighth after losing a seventh-placed play-off to England.

Tom Banton scored 112 that day but Georgeson was also a star performer, picking up figures of 3/29 from his 10 overs.

The 21-year-old is a left-handed batsman and opened in his only List A appearance to date against Central Districts earlier this year.

He played against a former CSNI overseas professional that afternoon in Kieran Noema-Barnett, who spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons in Belfast, scoring 1,177 runs.

Georgeson will join fellow youth international Marc Ellison, who captained at the 2006 U19 World Cup, at the club.

His pace bowling will also help plug the gap that has been left at Stormont by the departure of Graeme McCarter to Carrickfergus.

Waringstown set to sign Graham Hume

Waringstown are understood to have pulled off a major signing ahead of the 2021 season with North West Warriors all-rounder Graham Hume set to join the club.

Hume has spent the last four seasons with Coleraine, picking up in excess of 100 wickets and scoring over 1200 runs for the North West side.

The 29-year-old made his Warriors debut in 2019 and was their standout performer throughout the shortened 2020 Inter-Provincial Series, picking up six wickets in five matches and was impressive with the bat, scoring 138 runs, including 47* in a Twenty20 fixture against Northern Knights.

He brings a lot of experience to The Lawn having played in 97 First Class and 41 List A matches throughout his career with the likes of South Africa U19s, KwaZulu-Natal Inland, Dolphins and Gauteng, for who he made his First Class debut back in February 2010.

It is also understood that Hume, who permanently resides in Northern Ireland, will be deemed as a local player and joins Andre Malan at The Lawn.

The left-handed batsman who bowls right arm pace could be viewed as an opening bowling partner for James Mitchell, who picked up the most wickets during the 2020 season, and would slot nicely into the middle order alongside the likes of captain Lee Nelson, Greg Thompson, James McCollum and Malan.

It is a massive boost to a side that have reached the last five Irish Senior Cup finals, winning three, as they look to challenge the likes of CIYMS and North Down going forward.

Jacob Mulder set for Australia return

Ireland international leg-spinner Jacob Mulder won’t be coming back to CIYMS for the 2021 season after opting to return to Australia.

Born in Perth, the 25-year-old has enjoyed a successful run in the NCU with North Down and CIYMS and his form grabbed the attention of international selectors before he made his debut in September 2016 against Hong Kong at Bready.

Mulder played 14 times in total for Ireland across formats but was released from his central contract by mutual consent in November 2018.

His form has been astonishing for the all-conquering CIYMS in recent times and he picked up 47 wickets in 2019 as the Belmont outfit collected a historic haul of four trophies.

That earned Mulder a recall into the international fold ahead of a Twenty20 series against Scotland and the Netherlands last year but a back injury ruled him out of that competition.

He also played a key role at Inter-Provincial level for the Northern Knights and developed a reputation as one of, if not the, best white ball spinner at Ireland’s disposal.

Mulder, who will leave Northern Ireland in December, admits it was a tough decision to make but took time to thank everyone who was involved in his Irish experience.

“There’s way too many people to thank individually but I’d like to thank everyone at CIYMS for giving me the opportunity to come over eight years ago as a young kid just looking to avoid a winter back home,” he said.

“I had no idea and couldn’t predict what has happened since. I’ve had some great experiences and even better times in my eight seasons.

“Playing for CI initially then getting thrown a lifeline by North Down when I was on my way home after two seasons – I owe that club a lot and couldn’t be more thankful for my two years at The Green!

“Playing cricket in Belfast is an awesome lifestyle and one that I’ve tried to enjoy as much as I can with friends and family.

“I’ve met some amazing people and made some lifelong friends in this country who will give me plenty of reasons to come back and visit in the future.

“I wish everyone at CIYMS the best for the future and hope they go well in La Manga!”

Cregagh sign duo from Downpatrick

Cregagh have secured the signings of Craig and Ross Boultwood from Downpatrick.

After recording a league and cup double last season, Aaron Johnston has added to his squad as they go in search of promotion to the Premier League.

Ross served as captain at Downpatrick and led them to two consecutive LVS Twenty20 Trophy titles in 2018 and 2019 while also guiding the club to a fourth placed finish in the Robinson Services Trophy last season.

He will likely take the new ball for Cregagh alongside Adam Beattie, who was their top wicket taker across both competitions last season.

Craig’s arrival adds yet another spinning option while he is also capable of batting in a top order which already contains the likes of Johnston, his younger brother Mark, Jay Hunter and Jonny Moore.

The duo spent eight seasons playing senior cricket at Premier League side CIYMS before leaving for Downpatrick.

They will bring a significant amount of top-flight experience to a side that are aiming to reach that level and Johnston is delighted to have them both on board.

“I’m delighted to finally have both Craig and Ross join us for next season after a couple of failed attempts in the past!” he said.

“They will bring much needed depth with bat and ball, hopefully allowing us to compete on all fronts next year, following on from the successful season we have just enjoyed.

“Both guys also bring previous Premier League experience with them, which is somewhere we as a club strive to get to in the coming years.

“Having spoken with both guys, I can sense their excitement at getting started and the news has further enhanced the buzz around our club at the moment.”

Graeme McCarter signs for Carrickfergus

Carrickfergus have made another statement of their intent ahead of the 2021 season by signing Graeme McCarter from CSNI.

McCarter joined CSNI in December 2015 from North West side Coleraine and went on to pick up 87 wickets across five seasons at Stormont.

He helped them win the 2016 Challenge Cup with a five-wicket triumph over CIYMS before they reached another final two years later, where they lost out to Waringstown at The Green.

The 28-year-old, who was with English County side Gloucestershire between 2012-2014, is one of the premier bowlers in the NCU’s top-flight and currently leads the Northern Knights attack.

McCarter made his Ireland debut against Namibia in September 2011 before playing one ODI against Scotland (September 2014) and turned out three times for his country in Twenty20 cricket.

He is also more than capable with the bat and proved that by scoring six half-centuries during his time in CSNI’s middle order.

His arrival adds a massive boost to a Carrick side that haven’t wasted any time in putting together a squad capable of challenging on all fronts next season with former Glamorgan all-rounder Jeremy Lawlor also signing for the Middle Road club while overseas professional Jacques Snyman is returning for a second campaign.

McCarter will likely share the new ball with Neil Gill, who signed from Muckamore ahead of last season, while they will be supported by the likes of Michael Armstrong, CJ van der Walt, Ryan Eagleson and Snyman.

Ruhan Pretorius commits to a fifth season with North Down

Ruhan Pretorius will once again represent North Down in the 2021 season after committing to another campaign with the Comber club.

The 29-year-old has been the standout player in the NCU in recent times and will now enter his fifth season at The Green and sixth in total in the NCU after spending the 2015 campaign with Waringstown.

Pretorius, who has been a regular in the Northern Knights side since making his debut last summer, topped the run-scoring charts last season, hitting 409 at an average of 68.17.

In total during his time with North Down, Pretorius has scored 3233 runs in 69 innings across competitions combined with 107 wickets.

He helped the club win the Robinson Services Cup last season, scoring 120* in a semi-final victory over Instonians and they were also runners-up in the LVS T20 Cup.

Pretorius will qualify for Ireland selection at the end of next year and if he continues to perform at a similar level, a first international cap could be on the horizon.

Jacques Snyman set for Carrickfergus return in 2021

Jacques Snyman will return to Carrickfergus as their overseas professional for the 2021 season.

The 26-year-old spent the 2019 campaign with the NCU Premier League outfit and had great success, scoring 1085 runs at an average of 54.25 and strike rate of 123.86.

Only Andre Malan (1238) was able to boast a better runs return than Snyman, who scored five centuries and four fifties as he helped Carrick reach their first Irish Senior Cup quarter-final.

He was set to return for the 2020 season but that wasn’t possible due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Snyman was in fine form back in South Africa before lockdown, scoring 65 against England in January for a Cricket South Africa Invitational XI and carried that into his season with the Knights.

The hard-hitting batsman registered 124 against Cape Cobras, who had the likes of South African internationals Rory Kleinveldt and Dane Peterson in their bowling attack, before contributing 54 four days later against the Lions.

In total, Snyman has played 42 innings in First Class cricket since making his debut in December 2016, scoring 1855 runs with a high score of 209 and average of 45.24.

He is also more than capable with the ball as he showed in 2019 when his off-spin collected 24 wickets.

Carrick have already been busy in the close season after adding former Glamorgan all-rounder Jeremy Lawlor to their ranks and sources suggest this won’t be the last of their additions ahead of the 2021 campaign.

Carrickfergus announce signing of Jeremy Lawlor

Carrickfergus have made their first big move on the transfer front ahead of the 2021 season by announcing the signing of former Glamorgan all-rounder Jeremy Lawlor.

The 24-year-old, who was born in Cardiff but holds an Irish passport, spent his first season in Irish club cricket with Leinster side Phoenix having moved before the 2020 campaign.

He represented Munster Reds in the Inter-Provincial Twenty20 Trophy, opening the batting in their two games against Leinster Lightning, but didn’t get many opportunities to showcase his talents due to bad weather and cancellations.

Lawlor was released by Glamorgan following the 2019 season where he played in two County Championship games, five One-Day Cup matches and six Twenty20 games.

In total, he has played 11 First Class matches, where he averages 24 and has a high score of 81.

He hit 90 from 63 deliveries for a South side ahead of the Inter-Provincial Series against North and also bowls pace, taking the new ball on occasion for Phoenix.

It is a real sign of intent from Carrickfergus who had an uncharacteristically poor 2020 season where they lost all of their Robinson Services Cup games.

They will be looking to challenge in the top half of the league table once again when the new season rolls around and the signing of Lawlor should certainly help them with that.

JM Sport End of Season Awards: Innings of the Year

Ruhan Pretorius picks up his second seasonal award as his 120* from 56 balls in North Down’s Robinson Services Cup semi-final triumph over Instonians is named Innings of the Year.

In what was the only top-flight century of the 2020 season, Pretorius blasted seven fours and nine sixes as he helped his side set an unassailable target of 179/3 before they went on to win the competition with victory over Waringstown the following day.

It was a fascinating innings in more ways than one as the 29-year-old came out swinging from the very start, edging his first ball for six over third-man and although that wasn’t the intended target, it was that intent that would set up the innings and the fashion he was going to play in for the rest of the weekend.

He had scored just 47 from 57 balls the previous weekend in the LVS T20 Cup final against CIYMS at the same venue and had generally been struggling with his strike rate throughout the campaign, but it was a delight to watch him free the shackles and score fluently in front of a large crowd.

The innings wasn’t without a spot of luck as he was put down on the mid-wicket boundary when sitting on 25, but he was able to make Instonians pay by adding another 95 to his personal tally before the 20 overs were completed.

That score was a reminder of the class and talent that Pretorius possesses as he ended the season as the top-flight’s leading run-scorer with 409 from 10 innings.

This was the highlight of his season and deservedly is recognised as the Innings of the Year.