Trevor Britton is leaving CIYMS and returning to play his cricket in the North West this summer.
The off-spinner, who has been at Belmont for the last three seasons, is joining Bonds Glen as player-coach.
The news is a blow to CI, for whom Britton has been a key performer during his three campaigns at Belmont.
Britton was the fourth highest wicket-taker in the NCU Premier League last summer, with 36 victims at an average of 14.89. He played a vital role as CI won the Challenge Cup for the first time in their history, along with the Twenty20 Cup.
Britton and his wife Noeleen are expecting their first child in June and the 33-year-old felt the time was right to return to his native North West.
“I’m very excited about the challenge of joining Bonds Glen as player-coach,” he said. “It’s 10 minutes from home and my brother Lee plays there and opens the batting. It’s a new challenge and I can’t wait to get started.”
CI may receive criticism at times from around the NCU but Britton has nothing but praise for the set-up at Belmont.
“I’ve had an amazing three years at CI, and I’m really sorry to be leaving, it’s been a very difficult decision, but my family come first,” he said. “I always wanted to give the NCU a go and I couldn’t have gone to a better place than CI. I don’t think they get the recognition they deserve, people don’t see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes there. I wouldn’t say a bad word about them, everyone at the club made me and my family very welcome and they couldn’t do enough for you. In particular Daniel McConkey, Stephen Hughes and Alan McMillan were brilliant.”
Britton will always have particularly fond memories of last summer’s trophy double.
“It was really special beating Waringstown on their own ground in the Twenty20 final. I’ve played with some great players over the last three years and it was wonderful to be part of history, winning the Senior Cup for the first time with CI. The club looked after me so well and I would like to thank all the CI players, supporters and officials.”
A CI spokesman paid tribute to Britton’s contribution. “We wish him all the best in the future. Ted has been a big part of our success of the last two seasons, he has been a great presence in the dressing room and we are sorry to see him go.”
Britton’s departure follows the news that CI’s move for Max Sorensen, the Ireland all-rounder, collapsed after the The Hills bowler decided to stay in Leinster. However, they have since added both Zach Rush and Allen Coulter to the squad.
Britton joined CI from Brigade in the 2013 season. He previously captained Bready before making the move to Beechgrove.