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Nigel Jones congratulates Templepatrick and Cliftonville on success of first Primary School indoor tournament

David Morton
NCU PRO

Mayor Fraser Agnew presents the winners' trophy to Luke Styles and the team from Whiteabbey Primary School. (©Newtownabbey Times)Cricket Ireland's Regional Development Officer in the NCU area, Nigel Jones, has congratulated Templepatrick Cricket Club and Cliftonville Cricket Club on the success of the first ever Newtownabbey Schools' Indoor Cricket Tournament.
The former Irish international all-rounder praised both clubs, and Newtownabbey Borough Council, for their efforts to get more children playing cricket.

The event, which took place at the Valley Leisure Centre during February and March, attracted more than 100 boys and girls from ten local primary schools.

Picture Right: "Mayor Fraser Agnew presents the winners' trophy to Luke Styles and the team from Whiteabbey Primary School. ©Newtownabbey Times"

Pupils from Whiteabbey, Greenisland, Upper Ballyboley, Straid, Glengormley Integrated, The Thompson, Fairview, Kilbride, Templepatrick and Ballynure primary schools took part in the competition, which was organised by the clubs and the council in conjunction with Active Communities cricket coach, Michael Hingston.

The tournament provided primary school pupils with the chance to play a new sport and to hone their cricket skills with the help of qualified coaches. Schoolchildren who had never played the game were given the opportunity take part in free cricket sessions to polish up on their batting and bowling before the two-day tournament.

The first day of competition saw Whiteabbey take victory, with Straid finishing runners up. In an extremely closely fought second session, the team from Templepatrick Primary were the winners, just pipping Ballynure by the narrowest of margins.

The successful Templepatrick Primary School team with Mayor Fraser Agnew, Cricket Ireland's Nigel Jones and Templepatrick CC coaches Peter Shepherd and Artie Campbell. (©Newtownabbey Times)Nigel Jones, who alongside Newtownabbey Mayor Fraser Agnew handed out medals to the winning teams, congratulated the council, the clubs and the coaches on the success of the project and said:"It's great to see Templepatrick and Cliftonville working with their local council on a project like this. This is a really proactive approach to promoting cricket and getting more boys and girls to play the game.

Picture Right: "The successful Templepatrick Primary School team with Mayor Fraser Agnew, Cricket Ireland's Nigel Jones and Templepatrick CC coaches Peter Shepherd and Artie Campbell. ©Newtownabbey Times"

"The children involved really enjoyed the coaching sessions and learning the basic skills needed to play the game. The coaching on offer was first class, the standard of cricket was fantastic and the games I saw were very competitive.

"Hopefully the clubs and the council can build on the success of this year's competition and make this an annual event and encourage even more schools to get involved so that more children and young people get the chance to play cricket."

Dean Holmes, Newtownabbey Borough Council's Sport and Play Development Officer, commented: "Cricket is going from strength to strength in Newtownabbey and we are working on a number of programmes in partnership with local clubs Templepatrick and Cliftonville, along with Cricket Ireland. Programmes of this kind really show that cricket is not just a fair weather sport." 

Andy McCrea, Templepatrick CC Cricket Development Officer, thanked Newtownabbey Borough Council, the Valley Leisure Centre, Active Communities coach Michael Hingston and Cricket Ireland for supporting the venture.He said:"It was great to see so many children playing cricket. They were so enthusiastic and had great fun, which is what it's all about. We look forward to this competition growing each year, with even more schools getting involved in years to come."