Downpatrick have targets set on Twenty20 Trophy hat-trick

Downpatrick captain Ross Boultwood will be hoping his side can carry their impressive Twenty20 form of recent years into the 2020 campaign.

The Meadow outfit have won the LVS Twenty20 Trophy for the past two seasons, beating Holywood by five wickets in 2018 before following it up with a seven-wicket triumph over Cregagh on home turf last season.

They will kick their defence of that crown off against Ballymena but first up is a Robinson Services Trophy trip to Donacloney Mill on Saturday.

With the league campaign also being played in the shortest format this season, Boultwood is confident that his men can achieve even more success in this campaign.

“The club has reached three Twenty20 finals in the last four years, winning back to back trophies most recently,” he said.

“We have guys who naturally like to play an attacking brand of cricket.

“T20 is almost a release for the guys as I feel like we’ve maybe played within ourselves in recent years in the longer format trying to bat out overs and protect the tail.

“In Ryan Smyth and Jordan Wade we have two guys who can take the game to anyone and are box office when in full flow.

“I myself like to go hard then we have Craig (Boultwood) who likes to rotate strike and keep the score ticking.

“Our bowling attack is experienced with Mark Yeates and myself opening the bowling and then Marty Gartland taking the pace off the ball and bowling with accuracy and variations.

“I’m honestly confident throwing the ball to anyone of 6 or 7 of the guys.

“The shorter format is definitely more appealing to a lot of our guys and I hope we go out from game one with the same confidence and freedom which has seen us be successful in recent years.”

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Craig and Ross Boultwood with the LVS Trophy. ©CricketEurope

Their league form last season was in stark contrast to the cup results they were able to achieve, only preserving their Section One status on the final day thanks to a 44-run win against Donacloney Mill.

That was enough to finish two points ahead of the drop zone and Boultwood feels they are talented enough to not find themselves in a similar situation again.

“Last year we really didn’t get going at all,” he added.

“Luckily we turned it around at the business end and with a couple of results going our way we managed to stay up on the last day of the season.

“I remember beating Cregagh away and an experienced umpire asking me how the hell we were in a relegation battle!

“Section One is such a competitive league where anyone can beat anyone and there is certainly no room for complacency and last season acts as a stark reminder for all of us.

“It’s obviously completely different with no promotion or relegation but we want to give a much better account of ourselves this year as last year didn’t reflect the talent we have in the team.”

After a long wait to finally get back onto the pitch. Boultwood is looking for his team to enjoy the return but also has his sights set on a hat-trick of titles.

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Mark Yeates was named Man of the Match in 2018. ©CricketEurope

“It’s been a long winter and spring,” he said.

“I think the whole cricketing community would agree that it’s great to get some form of cricket in this year all be it a filtered format.

“With the situation being so fluid protocols are forever changing but we are working hard and ticking boxes to make sure the club is ready to go and all clubs are in the same boat.

“At this stage we just want to get out there and enjoy our cricket.

“We always play to win so if there’s a trophy at stake we set our sights on it.

“To win three T20 trophies in a row would also mean a lot and I know the boys are very keen to defend it.”

Like most clubs, Downpatrick will be without their overseas professional James Chappell this season while Tye Pilon has returned to Australia.

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