CIYMS professional Matt McGillivray reflects on his time in the NCU

CIYMS will have a difficult job replacing South African professional Matt McGillivray.

The all-rounder won’t be returning to the NCU in 2019, and signed off with 98* in his final game against Armagh.

He helped the Belmont club win two trophies in his time there, and performed magnificently in both 2017 and 2018.

In his debut season he collected a NCU-high 39 wickets and hit 610 runs at an average of 55.45, while in the most recent campaign he collected 35 wickets alongside his tally of 593 runs.

Here, he speaks about his time with the Premier League champions, his contributions and what the future holds.

How have you found the experience of playing in the NCU?

It’s been great. The standard was a lot higher than what I think I initially expected because the island is pretty small. I thought it was good and very competitive.

CIYMS won the Premier League this year. I’m sure you’re proud to have played a part in that?

It’s always nice coming over as an overseas professional and winning trophies. That was what the club wanted. The ultimate goal is to win competitions, and we have done that. Maybe we haven’t won as many as Waringstown, but we won the Challenge Cup last year and won the league this year, so it has been good.

What is your highlight in your time playing here?

My highlight is probably winning the Challenge Cup in 2017. (It was special) because there is a lot of history behind the trophy and I think the guys were probably disappointed in a lot of our performances last year. So, winning a trophy and beating the best teams in the NCU was quite special for everyone.

You got 39 wickets last season and 35 this season, and pretty much 600 runs in both season. Are you happy with what you contributed?

It’s always nice to contribute. I think I could have probably done a bit better this year. Last year, there weren’t as many guys contributing. If you go through the stats list this year, we have four or five guys on everything. It always helps when the whole team is performing and it doesn’t come down to how well the pro does. If you look at North Down, their pro was unbelievable but they didn’t do much as a team.

Do you think the team is capable of going on to the win the big trophies next year?

Yeah, definitely. They have all the resources and winning this year has proved to the guys who didn’t have the confidence that they are good enough and they are capable of winning every trophy that is up for grabs. I think the most important one is the All-Ireland, and I think they have the confidence now. We lost to Waringstown on the last ball and lost to Merrion in a really close game, so that gives you hope going forward.

What is next for you in a cricket sense? Will you keep playing back home?

This will be my last season playing back home, and then I will hopefully get into a more corporate role somewhere else. I’ve enjoyed coming overseas and met so many great people, but I think it’s time to start settling and get a job where I have a steady income.

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