Please click here to leave a message.
The Ulster Cricketer reserves the right not to publish submissions written under pseudonyms or which make gratuitous personal attacks.
NCU 2018 South Africe Tour
NCU Cricketers’ Attend the Gary Kirstens Cricket Academy
Andy McCrea Reports
It was another excellent day of cricket in Cape Town for the Northern Cricket Union (NCU) touring squads, in what has been the warmest day so far. The venue was the superb setting of Claremont Cricket Club and the players got to work with world renowned coaches from the Gary Kirsten Academy.
Gary Kirsten is a former South African International cricketer, playing 101 test matches and 185 One Day Internationals, between 1993 and 2004. In 2011, he famously coached India to World Cup success, in Mumbai, with a six wicket victory over Sri Lanka.
After the warm up, fielding drills and nets sessions were the starting point for the day to gauge how well the players were executing the basics in all facets of the game, which also gave a chance for player observation by the coaches.
Following a lunch break further sessions included scenario batting in the middle and in nets, range hitting, and then classroom discussion led by the players on how they thought the games scenarios had unfolded.
All the NCU players greatly appreciated the time, effort and feedback afforded to them by the Gary Kirsten Academy Coaches, and it was great to see that today's session dovetailed with work and discussions that they had already done during the winter, and also further developed on tour with the NCU coaches.
All players returned thoroughly exhausted but feeling the benefit of the challenges they had been set.
As part of the day, Gary Kirsten attended and spent an hour and a half with the NCU coaches, discussing the current and salient issues of modern coaching and player development.
Gary, who is one of the world's leading coaches, has just returned from coaching the Hobart Hurricanes in the Australian Big Bash to the final, and is just about to travel to the Indian Premier League (IPL) as the batting coach with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. At this tournament he has been tasked with co-ordinating a batting plan for Virat Kohli, AB DeVilliers, and Brendan McCullum amongst others, who are some of the modern day elite players.
Many coaching topics were discussed across all levels of cricket, but the key message was that youth coaching is about player development rather than winning, and he is a strong advocate of the smaller pitches and smaller sided games for young cricketers in order to see their skills executed well.
The NCU has already started to incorporate this into their youth match programme and the NCU Youth Committee are looking forward to this progression in the months ahead.
All players and coaches felt great value from the day and look forward to putting this purposeful practice into match performances for the rest of the tour.
We have just been informed that Paddy was appointed as a full member of the MCC in recognition for his sterling service in the umpiring ranks. He was an outstanding Umpire and his knowledge of the Laws is without question. When he 'retired' he continued to improve and educate his peers amongs the NIACUS brigade and further afield.
I'm sure we share on his congratulations.
Well done Paddy.
Resounding Victory for Andrew White NCU Academy over Wynberg High
Andrew White NCU Academy v Wynberg Boys High School
Played at Vineyard Oval, Newlands
25th March 2018
The Andrew White NCU Academy gained revenge for their 2015 defeat by Wynberg Boys’ High School with a comprehensive 174 run victory in Sunday’s encounter at the Vineyard Oval, Newlands.
Overnight rain and an uncovered pitch promised early hope for the side bowling first and so it proved as Wynberg, having won the toss, set about exploiting the helpful conditions.
Oliver Metcalfe, Jack Burton and Archie Johnston had taken the score to an unconvincing 69 for three wickets, but a magnificent fourth wicket partnership of 125 between Max Burton (98) and Aaron Wright (73) ensured that the tourists would set a formidable total.
Late wickets fell as the accelerator was pressed and a cameo from skipper Alex Haggan (20 off 13 balls including two maximums) ensured that the tourists’ total passed 300.
Wynberg’s reply was in trouble immediately as James Magee and Matthew Foster took wickets in each of the first three overs.
With the spin of Aaron Wright and Harry Warke then claiming two wickets each the Wynberg
innings lasted barely 30 overs.
On a day that had started overcast and ended in scorching sunshine the NCU boys were happy to get off the field with a shortened session as they acclimatised after a winter of indoor sessions.
A win in style against one of Cape Town’s most prestigious school sides was a satisfying way to start the South African tour programme.
Andrew White NCU Academy v Wynberg Boys High School, at the Vineyard Oval, 25 March.
Andrew White NCU Academy - 303 for 9 (50 overs: M Burton 98, A Wright 73; Z Antony 3-39, S Shultz 3-47).
Wynberg Boys High School - 125 (31.4 overs: Z Antony 28; J Magee 3-28, A Wright 2-14, H Warke 2-33)
NCU Senior Academy win by 174 runs.
Convincing Victory for NCU Under 15’s over Wynberg High
NCU Under 15’s v Wynberg Boys High School
Played at Cape Town Cricket Club
25th March 2018
Uel Graham Reports
The Northern Cricket Union (NCU) squad arrived at Cape Town CC to be greeted by a covered pitch which had been affected by the overnight rain, welcome for the local residents, but not for the touring party. After some discussion, a 10.30 start for a 40 over game was agreed. The NCU won the toss and opted to make first use of the wicket.
Yesterday’s half centurion, Sam Topping fell early to a good catch at the wicket, and then the other opener, Cameron Doak, was joined by Ben
Doak was joined by captain Matthew Humphreys and the two batted circumspectly, mixing good defence with singles and punishing the bad ball, putting on 99 for third wicket in 18 overs before Humphreys fell for 55. Doak was then retired out for 50 shortly after.
Another quick fire 31 runs from Matthew Daly, off 21 balls, including five fours and a six, pushed the score over 150 and Adam Kennedy weighed in with 20 not out as NCU finished their allotted 40 overs on 229 for six wickets.
The Wynberg innings had the worst possible start when Michael Waite had opener Koff caught behind by Ben Beattie in the first over, and wickets continued to fall regularly throughout the innings as the drying pitch became more unpredictable. The hosts succumbed to 69 for 9, and even with a late rally were all out for 102. Wickets were shared amongst the NCU bowlers with Michael Waite, Carson McCullough and James Rose taking two apiece.
Both teams had agreed to rotate twelve players to enable more playing time, the hosts were invited to have their twelfth man bat. This enabled their number nine, Davids to score 32 runs in an overall total of 143, before Adam Kennedy tool the last wicket.
What looked like a day of waiting in frustration due to overnight rain, ended up as another worthwhile and invaluable match day as part of NCU South Africa Tour.
NCU Under 15 XI v Wynberg Boys High School, at Cape Town CC, 25 March.
NCU - 229/6 (40 overs: M Humphreys 55, C Doak 50* ret., M Daly 31, A Kennedy 20; N Strongilis 2-24, D Bearne 2-26, J Dirks 2-30)
Wynberg Boys HS - 143/11 (31.4 overs: C Davids 32*; C McCullough 2-8, M Waite 2-23, J Rose 2-28)
NCU Under 15 won by 76 runs.
Northern Cricket Union 2018 South Africa Tou
One Wicket Victory in Tour Opener for NCU Under 15’s
NCU Under 15’s v Newlands Boys High School
Played at Western Province Cricket Club (WPCC)
24th March 2018
Alan Waite Reports
The first game of the NCU Under 15’s trip to South Africa started in relatively cool overcast conditions at WPCC on Saturday morning. Mathew Humphreys lost the toss and Newlands Boys High school decided to bat first. The Wallace High combination of Michael Waite and Cameron Doak got the NCU off to the best possible start, Doak taking two wickets in his first over and Waite one in his second to leave the hosts struggling at 9/3.
However some strong middle order batting aided by over thirty wides made it look as if a total of well over 250 was possible, but wickets for Shane Burke, Matthew Humphreys and Rory Ellery helped keep the NCU in the game.
The brakes were then really applied by Michael Waite and Adam Kennedy who bowled the last ten overs of the innings and restricted Newlands to just twenty-eight runs. They bowled full and straight and restricted the batsmen to only two boundaries. Waite finished with 4-30 and Kennedy 1-18
The NCU innings was opened by Shane Burke and Sam Topping who put on 32 for the first wicket before Burke was caught behind. Topping was joined by skipper Humphreys and together they batted excellently in a partnership of eighty-four. Humphreys was caught and bowled for 36 and the thirteen year old Topping was eventually retired for 56.
A couple of wickets fell cheaply and with the run rate mounting, it needed someone to increase the momentum. Mathew Daly arrived at the crease and smashed thirty from only fifteen balls to bring the NCU right back into the game. However when he was bowled, and quickly followed by a further three wickets, at 198/9 the game looked lost.
But the Instonians pair of James Lambert and Rory Ellerby kept their heads and aided by a straight six and four from Lambert they won the game with a scrambled single off the last ball.
All fourteen players participated in the game, and considering the boys had not played since last September they showed great spirit and commitment and were absolutely delighted with their win.
Newlands Boys’ High School v NCU U15 XI at Western Province Cricket Club - 24 March
Newlands Boys’ HS - 217 (45 overs: A Mafanga 54, A Bayoumi 47, A Scullard 37; M Waite 4-30, C Doak 2-4)
NCU U15 XI - 218/9 (44 overs: S Topping 57 ret., M Humphreys 36, M Daly 30; J Adams
ICC World Cup Qualifying Super Six final
Afghanistan won by 7 wickets
West Indies 204 (46.5 overs) R Powell 44, S Heymyer 38, E Lewis 27, A Nurse 26; Mujeeb 4-43, G Naib 2-28
Afghanistan 206-3 (40.4 overs) Mohammad Shahzad 84, Rahmat Shah 50, Mohammad Nabi 27*, C Gayle 2-38
A disappointing final for West Indies, as a jubilant team emphatically trounced by Afghanistan. Mohammed Shahzad (84) taunted the Windies throughout, but he delivered the blows that won the game. He is tubby, slow, arrogant, controversial and has plenty to say at the crease, but he's no fool, and can bat. Similar to the great Colin "Ollie" Milburn the Northants and England opener of yesteryear without the arrogance. One wonders why he had the need to display a cut-throat sign after he reached his fifty?
Gayle did remove Shahzad when his ebullient style got the better if him, but when Nabi struck three successive sixes to win the victory from Gayle he has fallen deeper and deeper into mediocrity. Not the force of former years, perhaps it is time to call it an end with some dignity?
Head Coach Phil Simmons and his sidekick John Mooney must be delighted with the win. They have deserve it!
Ireland finished 5th in the Super Six table.
ICC World Cup Qualifying
Ireland v Afghanistan
Afghanistan won by five wickets.
Ireland 209-7 (50 overs) P Stirling 55, K O'Brien 41, N O'Brien 36, W Porterfield 20; Rashid 3-40, Dawlat 2-54
Afghanistan 213-5 (49.1 overs) M Shahzad 54, G Naib 45, A Stanikzai 39*, S Shenwari 27; S Singh 3-30
Ireland batted first but struggled throughout with Stirling (55) anchoring in an unusual role after a suicidal run. The O'Brien brothers sparkled for two brief periods, but overall 209 was well short of par. It became a reality after the Afghans opened strongly and then paced them to perfection after the bowlers toiled with a low total. It was a huge disappointment for everyone.
ICC World Cup Qualifying Correction-
Zimbabwe are still technically in contention for a place in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, as a tie between Afghanistan and Ireland (in which each side bats for at least 25 overs) will reduce Ireland's net run-rate below Zimbabwe.
ICC World Cup Qualifying
Ireland received a huge favour from UAE when they defeated Zimbabwe by 4 runs in a rain affected game. (DLS)
It means Ireland and Afghanistan will face each other in a 'win take all' to qualify. Ironically, Ireland has a better net rate so hypothetically, if the match is rained off Ireland will qualify.
Let's hope they win on the field and earn a place on merit in Sunday's final..
I was wondering about financial support being available from local councils and indeed I raise the question that in any proposed development, do councils take cricket into consideration in any planned development. I remember a few seasons ago when Victoria faced difficulties regarding increased council charges. Thankfully it was resolved and I hope that the NCU would be making representations should a similar situation arise in other council areas.
Have been following the Sussex CC tour to South Africa to see if Waringstowns 17 year old Jack Carson featured in any of the pre - season friendlies. On the Sussex website he got very favourable mentions for his contributions with both bat and ball in a game against Middlesex.(Breaking an opening partnership of 119 when he took the wicket of England International Sam Robson - not a bad scalp for your first wicket!)
For all the plaudits many young players receive he often slips under the radar but felt his success deserved to be highlighted on the Forum.
Ed...Terrific potential. A chip off the block from his dad.
ICC World Cup Qualifying
Ireland live to fight again if only for a few days. West Indies beat Zimbabwe by 4 wickets to give us a chance, albeit remote.
World Cup Qualifying
Ireland v Scotland
Ireland won by 25
Ireland 271-9 (50 overs) (A Balbirnie 105, N O'Brien 70, K O'Brien 46; B Wheal 3-43, S Sharif 2-52)
Scotland 246 (47.4 overs) (K Coetzer 61, R Berrington 44, S Sharif 34, M Watt 31*; B Rankin 4-63, S Singh 2-33, T Murtagh 2-51, B McCarthy 2-44)
Captivated TV watching from the armchair critics, and we got plenty to comment! We perform better on TV.
However, the most important factor was the result! Balbirnie and the O'Brien brothers rescued our batting, and the bowlers were impressive after a few flutters at the start and finish.
Roll on the Afghans on Friday! DD Day!
It was with sadness that I belatedly learned of the death of one of another of cricket's abiding characters - Bobby Henderson. It was always to good to meet him and his "partner in crime" Tonto at Carrickfergus. .Hendi was never slow about voicing his opinion on the standards of playing, players or umpires - all expressed with a wicked humour! Deepest sympathy to his family circle.
Just found out yesterday. He was a great character and we shared a few pints over the years.
World Cup Qualifying-Super Six
Zimbabwe v Ireland
Result-Zimbabwe won by 107 runs
Zimbabwe 211-9 (50 overs) (S Raza 69*, B Taylor 25, T Chisoro 21, C Ervine 20, C Zhuwao 20; T Murtagh 3-36, A McBrine 2-42)
Ireland 104 (34.2 overs) (P Stirling 41; T Chisoro 3-22, G Cremer 3-18)
Poor performance from Ireland and they will rue the decision to bat first after the hosts. Thereafter the bowlers flattered to receive after good work in the early stages, but Zimbabwe dodged a bullet to register 211, which was unlikely.
Must-win matches to follow from Scotland and Afghanistan.