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NCU President's Message – Spring 2017

Peter McMorran

As Clubs' preparations for the Season ahead are being fine tuned the NCU have been planning for the future with the appointment of Angela Platt to the newly created position of General Manager.

The position, funded by the ICC and Sport NI, is a key element of the movement of the Union towards incorporation and increasing the organisational capability of the NCU and strengthening its role in the development of the local game.  Angela was previously Executive Manager of Ulster Hockey for 7 years and prior to that spent a total of a further 7 years as Sports Development Officer in Carrick and Castlereagh Borough Councils.  A dual hockey and soccer International player, a Board Member and current Vice Chairman of the NI Sports Forum since 2011.  Angela is very welcome to the NCU.

Meantime the NCU Development Staff held a very informative and enjoyable "State of the Nation" evening at Lagan Valley Ireland Civic Centre in Lisburn.  Well attended by representatives from many Clubs.  The evening highlighted that the grass roots game will continue to have an ever increasing spotlight focus on it as the NCU looks to increase club life support – in turn challenging Clubs to be more accountable with their governance and responsibility towards future planning and potential risks to operational standards and general development.

The evening was an opportunity to ask questions about Club Development; the merging Accreditation Scheme; Access NI Checks and general support available to clubs. Communication, not only between the NCU Development Officers and Clubs, but also within Clubs' administrators was highlighted as a priority to achieving development objectives.

At Interprovincial level Simon Johnston is keen to create a pathway for players from Club to Interpro cricket developing an NCU Youth structure worthy of 1st Class Status.

Should increased ICC Funding materialise on the back of a higher status for Irish Cricket this will not only benefit IP players but also the development of cricket throughout the NCU and the other provinces.

This pathway then leads from IP Cricket to International level with the development of Irish Wolves fixtures. Many congratulations to CSN all-rounder Shane Getkate on being appointed Captain for the six match tour to Bristol and Bath and also to Instonians James Shannon and Robert McKinley and Waringstown pair James McCollum and Adam Dennison also selected to the squad.

I also recently attended one of the NIACUS Umpires Road shows aimed at coaches, players, teachers, parents, helpers and spectators who might benefit from a better understanding of the Laws and Bylaws of Cricket and how they are implemented by the Umpires.  Alan Neil, Phil Thompson and  Joe Moore presented a fun and informative evening for those that attended emphasising one of the most important Law 43; Common Sense.

I was also invited to a most enjoyable Grasshoppers' Dinner by the Chairman Ricky Finlay.  The Grasshoppers were formed in 1981 by a group of players wanting to play friendly cricket home and abroad in the Spirit of the Game without serious competitive constraints.  17 major tours later to places such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Cyprus, La Manga, Barbados and this coming season Malta, the Club is in good stead and looking forward to many tours to come.

Ards Cricket Club held their Annual Dinner and Awards Evening at Romas Restaurant in Newtownards.  The effervescent Chairman Les Jones, a member of Ards Club (which was formed in 1944/45) since 1965, presided over the evenings events.  This included, for the first time, a girl winning the Young Player of the Year.  Ards is a grass roots Club providing sporting recreational activity for those from the catchment area, only made possible by the dedication of voluntary individuals such as Les, Rab Dunne, Phil Ferguson and many others.  I wish them a successful season in their splendid new net facilities, ground improvements and Pavilion.

This Summer I, like many others am going to enjoy the historic occasions of Ireland playing England at not only Bristol but also at Lords.  To celebrate the occasions the MCC recently held a dinner at the Ulster Reform Club where those attending enjoyed good company, food and speakers.  All are very much looking forward to these special matches being held on Friday 5th and Sunday 7th May.

I also had the pleasure in attending a Fund raising event held by CSNI Cricket Club at Drumbo Park.  From the proceeds raised £4,000 has been donated to Pancreatic Cancer Research NI, Macmillan Cancer Support, Sport Changes Life and Cancer Focus.  It is good to see the Spirit of Cricket remains alive with these generous donations.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the passing of Irish International Alan Johnston.  Alan was a formidable bowler for Ulster Country and the successful Lurgan team, winning the Irish Senior Cup 3 times in a 7 year period.  He would have added to his Irish International Cup tally had he been prepared to play on Sundays but his religious principles meant he was not available for Sunday cricket.

Finally, as I did this time last year I would encourage all Captains to read the Preamble to the Laws of Cricket (https://www.lords.org/mcc/laws-of-cricket/preamble-to-the-laws/) and to remind their players of the content.  Play competitively but within the Spirit of the Game not only on the pitch but in all of your activities connected with cricket.  All involved with our special sport whether player, coach, umpire, administrator or spectator will be enriched as a result.

Wishing you all an enjoyable and successful season.

Peter McMorran
NCU President
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