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Festival of cricket proves a big hit

Templepatrick Cricket Club
MORE than 200 people gathered at The Cloughan, Ballyclare on Sunday (May 29) for Templepatrick Cricket Club’s official pitch opening and family fun day.

Despite a strong breeze that forced some of the activities indoors, the sun shone and the event proved a big hit with players, past players, parents and club supporters who gathered for a great day’s cricket.

The event was designed to celebrate the past, present and future of Templepatrick Cricket Club, and included the people and organisations that have helped shape it into the healthy condition that it currently finds itself in.

The day began with a win for the home club’s Over 45s side against Muckamore Over 45s, followed by a narrow victory for Artie Campbell’s Old Boys team over Andy McCrea’s Old Boys in an 18-overs-a-side past players game.

Then it was the turn of more than 100 children aged between 5 and 11 years to take centre stage as the boys and girls from Templepatrick CC’s Under 11 youth section were joined by more than 30 players from Lurgan CC Tigers for a ‘cricket blitz’ session.

The festival of cricket rounded off with a 20-over game involving current Templepatrick First, Second and Third XI players, with Robert Smith’s XI proving just too strong for Josh Dailly’s team.

Among the invited guests who enjoyed the event were representatives from Sport NI, Biffaward, Newtownabbey Borough Council, the Old Ballyclarians Association, Ballyclare RFC and Holm - the new sponsors of youth cricket at Templepatrick CC.

Hailing the event a huge success, Templepatrick’s Cricket Development Officer, Andy McCrea said: “It was a fantastic day for everyone involved. It gave us the opportunity to welcome back some players from yesteryear, as well as celebrate our up and coming talent and show the local community how we’re promoting cricket to people of all ages and abilities.

“Our thanks go to everyone who came along on the day to see what we have to offer at Templepatrick Cricket Club and we hope that some of the old faces who enjoyed the past players game will make a return to playing more regularly.”

Over the last three years, Templepatrick Cricket Club has invested more than £180,000 in its facilities at The Cloughan, including the installation of a four-bay astroturf practice area, construction of a new square and improved outfield drainage and the purchase of new covers.

The main funder of the new pitch project, Sport Northern Ireland, awarded the club just over £84,000 towards the upgrade of the wickets and outfield, as well as £7,000 towards the cost of pitch covers and coaching equipment though the Awards for Sport programme.

Club Chairman Duncan Elder added: “This event marked the completion of years of hard work developing our ground, and significant investment in our facilities at The Cloughan. It is the culmination of many months of dedicated effort from our general committee, particularly our Treasurer, Andy McCrea, who has worked tirelessly to secure the funding necessary to put these improvements in place.

“Our thanks go to all our funders - Sport Northern Ireland, Biffaward, Newtownabbey Borough Council, the Lords Taverners and the Old Ballyclarians Association - for their generous support and everyone else who has helped us get to this point.

“We now have state-of-the-art practice facilities and a superb new playing surface at The Cloughan that will hopefully help us grow further and continue to develop as a community club in the years ahead.”

Julie McCann, Project Officer for Sport Northern Ireland, welcomed the official unveiling of the new facilities, commenting: “Sport Northern Ireland is delighted to have been able to support this project, and work with the club to deliver improved facilities and opportunities to increase levels of participation in sport.”

For more information about Templepatrick Cricket Club log on to www.templepatrickcc.co.uk