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NCU President’s Message Summer 2017

Peter McMorran
NCU President

NCU President’s Message Summer 2017

It has been a momentous few months for cricket in Ireland.  Not only have Ireland played against England at Lords, a splendid occasion watched by over 23,000 spectators, but even more historic Ireland and Afghanistan have been confirmed as the 11th and 12th Full Members of Test Cricket.

This historic decision is testament to over a decades success both on and off the field and Warren Deutrom, Cricket Ireland CEO, and Ross McCollum, Chairman, can be rightly proud of this achievement.  As should all others involved with cricket in Ireland including the Provincial Unions, players, administrators, coaches, spectators and alikadoos.

Full membership will however bring considerable challenges for Cricket Ireland and the Provincial Unions in the coming years.  Ireland will indeed receive increased funding from the ICC but this will be considerably less than that received by other Full Members and costs of operations will increase substantially.  Home boards often lose up to $500,000 per Test Match even when they have Test Match standard stadiums and permanent facilities.  Budgetary pressures are inevitable with expenditure on match venues and training facilities, development of 1st Class structures, player contracts, coaching & physio staff, administrative staff etc.  The cake has just got bigger but so has the cost of the ingredients.

C.I. will need to maximise the profile that Full Membership brings by finding alternative income streams, such as sponsorship & television rights to supplement the contribution received from the ICC.  At the same time budgets will need to be reviewed to ensure every penny of expenditure is maximised to the full.

There are many challenges ahead and the support of grass roots cricket has to be included as one of the priorities.

During the last few months I have had the pleasure of visiting Clubs such as Ards to Armagh, Cregagh to Cooke Collegians, Drumaness to Dungannon and Lisburn to Laurevale.  I continue to be encouraged and impressed by the efforts being put in by Administrators and Coaches to develop their Clubs.  The vast majority of this being provided by volunteers and we continue to owe these individuals a debt of gratitude for their involvement.  Hopefully with this hard work and support from C.I. Clubs will continue to produce the next generation of Ireland Internationals.

I wonder if any of the NCU Under 13’s that have recently won their Inter Provincial Competition will follow in the footsteps of the likes of Gary Wilson & Paul Stirling. 

Meanwhile at Club level the rearranged Arthur J Gallagher Senior Cup has been won by CIYMS, the Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup by Waringstown (for the second year in a row), Twenty20 Trophy by Armagh, T20 Shield by Saintfield and the GMcG Chartered Accountants Junior Cup by Instonians IIs.  Each of these finals days were splendid occasions enjoyed by many spectators.  Hopefully with the superb support of the sponsors the popularity of the competitions will continue to grow. 

The winners of the Gardiner Brothers Senior League have yet to be decided, however a Gardiner Brothers awards ceremony for outstanding performers, where players scoring a century, taking six wickets or achieving a hat trick are recognised, did take place.  One of these awards worthy of a special mention was presented to Ryan Smyth of Downpatrick for a huge knock of 249 not out in a Section 1 match.  Many Congratulations!

Another player worthy of special mention is Amy Hunter.  Within the last two years Amy has played for Instonians Under 11’s (Boys), NCU Under 11 (Boys), NCU Under 15 and Under 17 Girls, Ireland Under 15 Girls and most impressively NCU Women and the Dragons Super 3’s team.  In a game between the NCU Women and their North West counterparts Amy took four wickets with three of these coming in four balls.  Again many congratulations!

I hope you all enjoy the business end of the season and are looking forward to the West Indies visiting Stormont to play Ireland on 13th September 2017.  Who will forget the last time the two teams met at Stormont in 2004 when the WI team included players such as Chanderpaul, Gayle and Brian Lara and yet despite a century from Dwayne Bravo Ireland still chased down 292 to win by 6 wickets.  Don’t forget to put the date in your diary!

Peter McMorran
NCU President

PS. Another date for your diary is the NCU Annual Dinner on 7th October 2017 where the guest speaker will be the very humorous and entertaining Test stalwart, first National selector of ECB and current President of Derbyshire CC Geoff Miller OBE.