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Birch and Ervine signed for 2008

Colin Birch, a 25 year old all rounder from South Africa has been appointed as Carrickfergus Cricket Club's professional/coach for the 2008 season. Colin represents Western Province, based at the famous Newlands ground in Cape Town, in South African domestic cricket. He made his first class debut in October 2006, and already has an impressive record, scoring 456 runs @ 35.07 and taking 32 wickets @ 24.71 with his brisk medium pace.

Originally from near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, Colin represented Eastern Province at age group level from Under 15 to Under 19. He attended the renowned Eastern Province Cricket Academy in Port Elizabeth where he captained the team, and played for the Eastern Province B side. In 2004 he decided to make the move to Western Province to further his cricket career, and joined Pinelands Cricket Club in Cape Town where he plays when not involved in Provincial cricket. Meanwhile, outside cricket, he completed a degree in marketing.

He has already enjoyed three highly successful seasons in the UK. His first season was as a 19 year old in 2002 when he played for Hucknell CC in Nottinghamshire, helping them win their league by scoring over 1,000 runs as well as taking over 40 wickets. The following season he moved to Kimberley CC who are one of the top sides in the ECB Nottinghamshire Premier League, and helped them to runners up spot in the league, scoring over 800 runs and taking 40 wickets. After taking three winters to complete his degree, Colin returned to UK league cricket in 2007 when he was professional at Alvaston & Boulton CC in the ECB Derbyshire Premier League. He enjoyed another prolific season with bat and ball, scoring 805 league and cup runs @ 44.72 as well as capturing 38 wickets @ 29.39. Colin is also a Level 2 coach, and has extensive experience coaching young players in both South Africa and England, as well as having his experience gained at the academy to draw upon. Carrick's players can look forward to learning much from him in the coming season.

Carrickfergus is also pleased to announce the appointment of 19 year old Irish qualified Zimbabwean all rounder Ryan Ervine as assistant professional/coach for the 2008 season. He comes to the local club highly recommended, with Zimbabwe international star Brendan Taylor saying on his website that Ryan is "A superb all rounder who can do the job with both bat and ball. As an opening bowler he has a nagging accuracy, and as a batsman he has scored many centuries." Politics in Zimbabwean cricket have restricted Ryan's opportunities to gain the recognition he has surely deserved in terms of representative cricket, and he hopes that a good season with Carrickfergus in the NCU Premier league may bring him to the attention of Irish selectors. Ryan is the youngest brother of former Zimbabwean Test player and current Hampshire all-rounder Sean Ervine. He is a top order batsman and brisk medium pace bowler playing for Old Hararians in the Zimbabwe Provincial Competition. He has performed exceptionally over the past few seasons and is on the brink of first class selection. In 2007, Ryan played his first season in the UK for Buxton in the North Staffs South Cheshire League scoring 440 runs at 40.00 with a highest score of 144*, in addition to taking 25 wickets at 20.84. He has a certificate in Physical Education and holds a level 1 coaching accreditation.

Carrickfergus Cricket Club is confident that Colin Birch and Ryan Ervine will make a positive impact on the Club both on and off the field, and will help them in their efforts to improve on their excellent performance in finisihng 4th in the NCU Premier League and reaching the Challenge Cup semi finals which they achieved last season, as well as helping the many talented young players currently at the club.

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