Cian Robertson may still only be 18 but he has been putting in performances beyond his years throughout this season.

Having moved to Northern Ireland from South Africa with his family earlier this year, the left-arm spinner is sitting top of the wicket-taking charts in the NCU’s top-flight after collecting 23 in 16 matches at an average of just 18.35.

His economy rate of 3.80 is also the best of any player at the highest level and it has been a dream return to Shaw’s Bridge for the teenager.

Thumbs up from Cian Robertson

Robertson has had to deal with moving countries during a global pandemic but has been able to take everything in his stride and produce on the pitch, and he will be looking to do the same again against North Down in the Challenge Cup semi-finals tomorrow.

“I was really nervous coming over but I’m really grateful for the support Instonians have given to me,” he said.

“Moving countries, especially in a time like this, isn’t easy but the club have done everything they could to help me and my family settle in and for that I can’t thank them enough.

“Being leading wicket-taker shows that I must be doing something right but I know that I could be bowling better than I am at the moment.

“That excites me hugely and hopefully my form can continue. If I’m taking wickets then that helps the team and that’s all that matters.”

Robertson was last in the NCU back in 2019 when he played for the second XI at Instonians, which gave him a taste for cricket in this country.

Fast forward two years and he’s leading from the front in an experienced Premier League bowling attack.

It isn’t just club level where he has been impressing – he also topped the bowling charts for the Emerging Knights in the recent Future Series after picking up 14 in eight matches.

“I’m loving it here,” he added. “There are a lot of guys who are my age in the team who are trying to learn and forge their own path, so it helps all of us to be going through the steps together and having friends in the team certainly helps to settle in easier.

“I have five or six other guys who are close mates of mine now so when you’re playing with them on the field it helps and I think that’s a big reason why I’m playing good cricket.”

Robertson has had to learn and adapt quickly to a higher standard than he has ever played before, but it feels like a natural progression for an ambitious young cricketer.

“Before coming over to Ireland I had never played against international cricketers before so that has been a huge change,” he said.

“I want to be the best one day so the only way to test myself is to play against the best cricketers around. It has been a huge change but it’s something I am really enjoying.”