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Ulster Bank Awards for August & September - Rules relaxed to allow a County Down schoolboy to win a prestigious cricket award

Robin Walsh

Peter McMorran, Taj Kwelu and Stephen CruiseTaj Kwelu put in the remarkable performance of taking five wickets in seven overs without conceding a run when he opened the bowling for Bangor in Section 1 of the NCU Senior League last month against Templepatrick.

But it fell just short of clinching an Ulster Bank NCU League award which goes to bowlers who take six wickets - and all because of his age.

The 17 year-old Bangor Grammar School pupil fell victim of the restriction that you must be over 18 before bowling in succession the maximum allocation of 10 overs.

Stephen Cruise of Ulster Bank said: “We put our heads together with the NCU and decided to present an award to Taj. It was a tremendous performance not to concede a run in seven overs and take five wickets into the bargain - it’s anyone’s guess how many wickets he would have taken had he been allowed another three overs.”

It’s been quite a season for the Kwelu family. Taj won Irish Schools’ honours into the bargain - and dad Mike skippered Bangor 3rd XI to promotion.

Awards also go to players who score a century or perform a hat trick and it’s only the third time in Ulster Bank’s 15 years of sponsorship that the rules have been relaxed: in the other two cases the awards went to wicket keepers.

Former Irish international keeper Brian Millar - also of Bangor - received a special award for claiming four “victims” in successive balls and former Queen’s University keeper Bertie Stiles followed suit when he claimed seven dismissals in an innings.

Other winners at this weeks Ulster Bank Awards (Also included all the photos are NCU President Elect Peter McMorran and Ulster Banks Stephen Cruise):


Lisburn CC's chairman Dean Simpson receives an Ulster Bank award
on behalf of James Magowan for the player’s 7-25 against Muckamore in August

Cregagh CC's Stuart Nelson receives his Ulster Bank award in recognition
of his remarkable figures of six wickets for just two runs in the league game
against PSNI in August

Derriagh CC Club President, Graham Kenny, receives an Ulster Bank
award on behalf of Kaushik Aphale for the player’s 138 against Cliftonville in August

Cliftonville CC's Alan Blain picks up a prestigious Ulster Bank award
for a brilliant hat trick in the league game against Dundrum in August

Donaghacloney cricketers Matthew Lyttle and Steven Hanna collect
Ulster Bank awards for excellent bowling performances in August - Matthew
with 6 for 32 against Victoria and Steven 6 for 28 against BISC

BISC captain Ahamed Badusha picks up an Ulster Bank award for
his excellent figures of 6-30 in the league game against Victoria in August

Woovale CC's Chris Campbell with a clutch of Ulster Bank awards
at the final presentation of the season. Two he keeps for his centuries
against Lurgan (120) and Dundrum (109) in August.
He collected the other two for Mark Irwin for his 107 in the same game
against Lurgan and Paul Robinson who took 7-11 against Holywood

Richard Johnson (Jnr & Snr) at the Ulster Bank League awards as
proud dad sees Richard junior receive recognition for his brilliant spell
of 6-11 for Cooke Collegians in the match against Drumaness in August.
Richard (snr) also picked up an award on behalf of Instonians' Zach Rushe
for the player’s 6-22 against Ballymena also in August

(All Photos © Ian Johnston)