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Cricket gets high profile at annual Newtownabbey Sports Awards

Andy McCrea
Templepatrick CC

Duncan Elder who received the Services to Sport Award at the Newtownabbey Sports AwardsIt was another successful night for cricket at the Annual Newtownabbey Sports Awards on April 10.

The Awards, compered by local TV and radio personality Jim Neilly, were attended by more than 300 guests. The gala evening showcased the best sporting talent in the Borough, and celebrated the efforts of those who contribute off the field.

The conclusion of the evening saw ex-Irish international Kyle McCallan inducted into the Newtownabbey Sporting Hall of Fame to join other sporting personalities such as Willie John McBride, Denis McBride, Jimmy Nichol, Alan McDonald, Tommy Wright, Jim Baker and Paddy Hopkirk.

This was an opportunity for Kyle's local community to show their appreciation for his efforts over the years, as the Sporting Hall of Fame was established to honour outstanding persons, who have gained prominence and have made substantial contributions on behalf of themselves and Newtownabbey through sport.

Kyle, who was capped a record 226 times by Ireland and captained on 54 occasions, was also awarded an MBE in 2010. The former Ballyclare High School and Cliftonville all-rounder took the opportunity in his interview with Jim Neilly to explain how the game is progressing quickly across the country and alluded to key wins for Ireland against Pakistan and England in recent World Cup Finals, which have been key in driving the profile of the sport forwards. He thanked those who had encouraged him in his early sporting years and fielded some questions posed by the audience.

Another cricket winner on the night was Templepatrick Cricket Club’s Chairman, Duncan Elder who received the Services to Sport Award. Duncan has been Chairman of Templepatrick Cricket Club for the last 14 years and throughout this time, the club has progressed from a small club to now being recognised as one of the healthiest cricket clubs around.

"Over recent years Templepatrick Cricket Club has enjoyed many developments and successes and obviously Duncan as Chairman has had a key part to play in all these," said the club's CDO, Andy McCrea.

Kyle McCallan inducted into the Newtownabbey Sporting Hall of FameAnother winner on the night with a cricket connection was Irish hockey star, John Jackson.
John, who has been capped over 100 times by Ireland, won the Adult Sportsperson of the Year award after a great year on the pitch. He is a past player of Templepatrick Cricket Club where his brother James is 1st XI Vice Captain.

Another person proving young athletes can be successful at multi sports was Templepatrick CC’s Under 15 fast bowler Jack Magee. The Irish Under 17 Javelin champion made the final three in the Young Sportsperson of the Year category.

This great night for cricket follows last year's equally successful evening when Paul Stirling won Adult Sportsperson of the Year, Templepatrick Cricket Club won Club of the Year and Templepatrick CC’s
Andy McCrea won Coach of the Year.
 
Let’s hope the high profile for cricket in the area can continue for next year’s awards.
 
Speaking at the awards the Mayor Alderman Victor Robinson commented, “I am delighted to host the awards and to recognise the excellent sporting achievements of the individuals and clubs in the Borough. I would like to congratulate the winners and those nominated for the contribution they make to sport in Newtownabbey and beyond!”