The Task Force was set up by the Cricket Development Directorate to consider the future of junior cricket (below Division 1) and in particular how to encourage adults to continue / resume playing.  Other factors to be considered were the failure of teams to fulfil fixtures and a perceived desire for shorter matches in the more junior games.

Membership:  A Clement (Director of Cricket Development)
B Walsh (Assistant Director of Cricket Development)
A Beattie (Waringstown)
J Gillespie (Lurgan)
I McCombe (Muckamore)
P McMorran (CSNI)
G Pollock (Cooke Collegians)
P Shepherd (Templepatrick)
J Torrens (Derriaghy)
J Wylie (Instonians)

The General Secretary acted as secretary to the group.

The Task Force met on two occasions – 8 July and 3 August 2010.  Not all members were present on both occasions but members unable to be present submitted detailed papers outlining their thoughts on progress to date and for outcomes which were considered by the group.

Broad consensus emerged on the following:

  • Cricket below the First Division should be organised on the basis of eight team leagues;
  • Promotion and relegation should continue on the basis of two up / two down for a number of years in order that teams find the correct level – this should be reviewed in say three years;
  • Leagues should be straight – through;
  • Rearrangements in all leagues to be played over 20 overs with one attempt only – a date which can be any date before the end of the season to be fixed within 14 days of postponement. Views of clubs on mandatory/voluntary rearrangements to be sought;
  • Teams permitted to schedule no more than 2 fixtures on days other than a Saturday at fixture meetings except for the bottom team in the club;
  • Scheduled (i.e. fixture book matches) can be played on a non-turf wicket when the team is not the clubs most senior side playing at home from Junior League 2 down;
  • Rearrangements can be played on non-turf pitches.

Proposed structure:
Junior League                       Formerly                                  Overs

1                                     Top 8 teams in 2.1                 45/50
2                                     Next 8 teams                           40
3                                     Next 8 teams                           40
4                                     3.1                                             40
5                                     2.3 (8)                                       35
6                                     2.3 (1) + 3.2                             35
7                                     3.3                                             30
8                                     3.4                                             30
9                                     3.5                                             30

The 50 over playing regulations would only apply to Junior League 1.

This structure takes into account that the playing ability of 3.1 is considered to be stronger than 2.3.

Changes to the proposed structure may be required dependent on competition entries.

It is hoped that clubs will permit the new structure to commence in 2011.  This will mean obvious disappointment for some teams gaining promotion under the existing structure – however all league winning teams would receive their trophies at the 2010 Annual Dinner.

Latest Starting Times:
Junior League                      May / June                            July / August

1                                     1.00pm                                    12 noon
2                                     1.00pm                                    12 noon
3                                     1.00pm                                    12 noon
4                                     1.15pm                                    12 noon
5                                     1.15pm                                    12 noon
6                                     1.15pm                                    12 noon
7                                     1.45pm                                    12 noon
8                                     1.45pm                                    12 noon
9                                     1.45pm                                    12 noon

It is suggested that minimal refreshments need to be supplied by the home club in 30 over matches.

Junior League                                     Cup

1                                                 Junior Cup (with Division 1 Sections 2 & 3)
2                                                 Intermediate Cup
3                                                 Intermediate Cup
4                                                 Intermediate Cup
5                                                 Lindsay Minor Cup
6                                                 Lindsay Minor Cup
7                                                 Minor Qualifying Cup
8                                                 Minor Qualifying Cup
9                                                 Minor Qualifying Cup

It is suggested that the Intermediate, Lindsay and Minor Qualifying Cup be played over 40 overs with the semi-finals and finals over 45 overs.

It is recommended that the number of players to be starred for each team below the 2nd XI be increased from 7 to 9.

It was agreed a sponsor should be sought for the Junior League.  If successful medals could be provided for league winning teams.

It was agreed that three roadshows be held to which all clubs would be invited to discuss the proposals prior to the 2010 AGM.

Tuesday 24 August Lurgan CC Clubhouse
Tuesday 31 August Carrickfergus CC Clubhouse
Thursday 2 September Shaws Bridge Clubhouse
(All meetings will commence at 7.30pm)It was hoped to develop a PowerPoint presentation and that Task Force members would present the proposals.

Schools Committee:
The Task Force strongly recommends that the Union enters into urgent and serious discussion with the Schools Committee on Saturday morning cricket.  The Task Force believes that clubs and schools cricket cannot continue to be played in opposition to each other on Saturdays without serious detriment to junior club cricket.

Bryan Milford
10 August 2010

NCU – Junior Taskforce Final Report (PDF 103KB)