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NCU President's Christmas Message
Robin Walsh, during his year as Cricket Ireland President, regularly published a newsletter updating us all on his latest exploits. As NCU President I have decided to plagiarise the idea, albeit my seasonal reports may not be so frequent, eloquent, or as far travelled. Hopefully they will however provide a brief insight into my recent experiences as President.
My term of office began at the NCU AGM following in the footsteps of NCU stalwart Billy Boyd, who will be a hard act to follow. Billy has now for the second time, after a 30 year gap, become President of Lurgan CC.
As I mentioned at the AGM it was a complete surprise being asked to become President of the NCU - to follow in the footsteps of Ireland Cricketing Legends such as EDR Shearer, Ivan Anderson and Roy Harrison is not only humbling but a great honour.
I have a few cricket credentials but not the pedigree of such individuals as these.
My cricketing interest, encouraged by my father (one of the founding members of Donaghadee Cricket Club), began at Regent House (under the excellent guidance of Charlie Corry former Ireland cricketer). I then travelled west to Enniskillen where Portora Royal School competed in a regional twenty over midweek league playing against teams such as Enniskillen, Omagh, Clogher Valley and Bob Kerr's beloved North Fermanagh. This before becoming a long term member of NICC now CSNI.
My first official engagement as President was to accept the invitation of Jim Nelson, Chairman of Carrickfergus Cricket Club to their end of season dinner at Middle Road. As usual it was a wonderful family occasion of celebration (the 3rds & 4ths both gaining promotion) and adult/junior player awards. Carrickfergus CC, like the Town's rugby and football Clubs is an integral constituent of the local community. This reflected in the Clubs initiative to link up with "Pretty in Pink" as its charity partner, not only raising funds for Breast Cancer but also running a "Design a Pink Kit" competition adding a splash of brightness to Middle Road in 2016. A wonderful idea reflecting the Spirit of Cricket.
My next engagement was to the Instonians Club Dinner, a combined event for the rugby, hockey and cricket sections. Another very enjoyable evening with entertaining guest speakers. Quite clearly the Instonians sports teams are in good health with the 1st XV Rugby team currently lying second in the Kukri Qualifying League; the Hockey team currently lying top of the Premier League and finally the cricketers last season playing in two Cup Finals and fourth in the Premier League.
My last official engagement prior to the festive season was to welcome Shane Matthews and Gordon Markey of Arthur J Gallagher, the new Challenge Cup Sponsors, to the NCU and to hold the preliminary and first round draws of the Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup. It is very fitting that a commercial Insurance Broker originally established in Northern Ireland is now the sponsor of the Challenge Cup. As Shane Matthews said at the draw Arthur J Gallagher are a community Insurance Broker embedded in the regions, benefitting from an extensive UK network and the backing of a US parent.
The NCU looks forward to a mutually beneficial relationship promoting both brand and sport.
Both Gordon Markey and myself were responsible for, eventually and in a transparent manner, drawing the first round matches where no Premier League teams will meet each other. None of those attending the draw could ever recall a similar situation arising at a previous draw.
Meanwhile NCU Chairman Andy Clement (speedily recovering from his knee operation) and his supporting Management Board Members and Directorates continue with preparations for the 2016 Season :-
A busy Winter period for the NCU volunteers.
I have really enjoyed my first few months in office and am very much looking forward to the next two years as President visiting as many Clubs as possible accompanied hopefully by my wife and dog.
Until then I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
PS From time to time I may tweet some news @NCUPres @NCUPres
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