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' If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch' ....
Well Andy, that being the case... May I respectfully suggest that these chief executives and their various understudies emerge from behind their desks and offices at HQ's, draw up a rota, and between themselves get down to places like Dungannon and Portadown twice a week, roll up their sleeves and get on with coaching and encouraging the few remaining enthusiasts who are still there trying their very best against shrinking odds, to keep the game of cricket alive in their home town-lands.
And while they're at it, they further make themselves available each Saturday for team selection to such times as these former great cricket communities are able to field their own 1st eleven, then and only then after these important targets have been met and fully achieved, they keep themselves available on speed dial, should the respective captains from these clubs need to call upon their services once again!
The paperwork, politics and money-counting can remain in their intray until the real work has been completed to the satisfaction of those that really matter.... no explanation needed!
Re Caleb Boomer - CI has got its priorities right! As soon as ‘Test Status’ was achieved the various Chief Executives were put in place at ‘attractive’ salaries. And yet there appears to be little finance available for what I call ‘real cricket’ purposes. Good start for the development of club cricket! I referred in the past to ‘the Emperor’s new clothes’ and everything that I have written about over the past few years has, by and large, has come to pass. While I thought that U11 was a bit ‘young’, the U13 inter-pros were of tremendous value. It has been a pleasure to see the progress of Jack Tector who I have seen performing and developing through the various age groups. But in their wisdom CI have made their decision. The comparison between the decline of club rugby and the lowering of standards in local cricket shows that lessons have not been learned. That is of course if anyone at the top is really interested. And a few recent conversations with guys involved in club cricket from other provinces have reinforced my view that boxes are being ticked and CVs being enhanced.
It's great the ICC no less are keeping all and sundry informed and abreast of the current state of play at international level around the globe.
Nevertheless, I'd be much more thrilled if they were to come on here and tell us what they're doing about the local game and how they intend to address and assauge as I see it, a worrying decline in teams and player numbers?
When I checked the fixtures dates the other day, I nearly fell of my stool when I noted that there is no longer a section 3, instead, a slighty larger, amalgamated section 2, were it appears every team will play eachother once and the season still finishes by mid August, just when and how did that one slip under the radar?
What about Dungannon C.C. What advice, assistance, and funding has been sent their way to help get them back playing again?
And did I read somewhere that just recently the under 13 interpro tournament has been abolished, with both kids and their parents understandably, annoyed, dejected and bitterly disappointed?
Please, if someone from the aforementioned esteemed society could provide me with some clarity and welcome cheer it would be very much appreciated, after all, the new domestic season is fast approaching and I don't want to turn up in my whites to find I'm the only one there to turn off the lights in our pavillion?
IRELAND LOOK AHEAD TO THE ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP QUALIFIER
· William Porterfield: “We are very confident of our chances to qualify, we have been playing some very good cricket and we need to bring that from the start of the tournament and peak at the right time”
· Kevin O’Brien: “I am looking forward to competing against some very good teams in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier and hopefully qualifying for our fourth ICC Cricket World Cup
With 27 days to go to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, Ireland are gearing up and focused on qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Ireland have played 42 matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier (known as the ICC Trophy until 2005) from 1994 to 2009 and have won 26 of those matches, including winning the event in their last outing in 2009 in South Africa (Ireland had qualified directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 after winning the ICC World Cricket League Championship).
The team is now travelling to Pretoria, South Africa, to participate in a series of warm-up matches against Netherlands and Hong Kong ahead of the Zimbabwe tournament, which takes place between 4 and 25 March. In the qualifier, Ireland will face Netherlands, PNG, the Windies and the winner of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in Group A.
Captain William Porterfield, who will be playing his second ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, is confident of his team’s chances: “We are very confident of our chances to qualify, we have been playing some very good cricket and we need to bring that from the start of the tournament and peak at the right time.”
Scoring 515 runs in 10 innings with a highest score of 104 not out in the final of the 2009 event against Afghanistan, Porterfield is focused on the event in Zimbabwe. “We are focused on qualifying, it will be massive for Ireland if we qualify for the World Cup in England and Wales in 2019.”
Kevin O’Brien, also competing in his second qualifier with a top score of 101 not out against Oman in the 2009 edition, said: “I am looking forward to competing against some very good teams in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier and hopefully qualifying for our fourth ICC Cricket World Cup.
With batting figures of 295 runs in seven innings and bowling figures of three wickets for 24 runs in 2009, O’Brien added: “We feel we have a very good chance of qualifying, but it is going to be tough.
“It would be a massive achievement for us and experience the highs and lows of the previous three World Cups from beating Pakistan on St Patrick’s Day, the run chase against England and knocking off the West Indies in Nelson, but first of all we have a big tournament in March to perform well in.”
Ireland’s fixtures in ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018
Sunday, 4 March –Ireland v Netherlands, Harare Sports Club
Tuesday, 6 March – PNG v Ireland, Harare Sports Club
Saturday, 10 March – Windies v Ireland, Harare Sports Club
Monday, 12 March – Ireland v WCL Div.2 (winners), Old Hararians Sports Club
Thursday, 15 March – Friday, 23 March – Super Six stage
Sunday, 25 March – Final
Stage One Umpire Training Course
The Northern Ireland Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (NIACUS) will be running a Stage One Umpire Training Course at CSNI Cricket Club on Saturday 3rd March & Sunday 4th March 2018.
The course will be last approximately 5 hours on the Saturday & 3 hours on the Sunday.
The cost off the course will be £30.
Anyone who is interested in attending the course is asked to contact Alan Neil (07745814032) or Phil Thompson (07748354216) to register.
Ulster Bank has announced a two year extension to its sponsorship of the Ulster Schools Cricket Cup at the draw for the opening rounds of next summer's competition.
Eight schools have receive a bye into the second round with holders Royal Belfast Academical Institution enjoying a home tie against either Bangor Grammar School or Lurgan College.
Only one second round game will feature two seeded teams with last year's runners up Wallace High School making the short journey to Friends School in a Lisburn derby.
The first round draw is:
A: RBAI Seconds v Limavady Grammar School
B: Sullivan Upper v Down High School
C: Bangor GS v Lurgan College
D: Antrim GS v Grosvenor GS
E: Carrickfergus GS v Belfast High School
F: Regent House v Campbell College
G: Royal School Armagh v Strabane Academy
A v Ballymena Academy
B v Belfast Royal Academy
RBAI v C
D v Methodist College Belfast
Coleraine GS v E
F v Foyle College
Ballyclare High School v G
Friends School v Wallace High School
Annual Christmas Quiz
It is ironic and somewhat sad that the winner of our Christmas Quiz was the late Davy Holmes with close to 100%.
I have retained his email on 28 December because I still remain in disbelief at the sudden passing, as like everyone else in local cricket, we expected him to live for many years. His bubbly personality will live forever.
In memory of Davy a donation will be made to the NI Chest, Heart and Stroke.
Mark Hawthorne umpiring the SA - Bangladesh playoff and described as ‘from Ireland’. The next remark by the commentator ‘it’s a long way from Tipperary to here’ shows that somebody hasn’t done their homework!!
Cum on Andy, Mark is from Ireland to be sure!
EIGHT CITIES THROUGHOUT AUSTRALIA TO HOST ICC WORLD T20 2020
MCG to host women’s and men’s finals
The venues and host cities for the ICC World T20 2020, which will be hosted by Australia, were announced today at events throughout the country.
The eight Host Cities are Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Geelong, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
For the first time, the women’s and men’s competitions will be held as standalone events in the same host country and in the same year. This will give the best female and male cricketers respective opportunities to capture the attention of the country and the world. Women’s matches will run from 21 February to 8 March 2020 and the men’s matches will run from 18 October to 15 November 2020.
The world’s 10 best women’s teams and 16 best men’s team’s will come to Australia to battle it out for the ultimate prize in T20 cricket.
The annual Ulster Grasshoppers CC dinner was held last Saturday night at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Belfast.
An excellent evening was had by all and it was great to see so many people from different cricket clubs.
Wally Graham (CSNI CC) was installed as club President and Michael Foster (Lisburn CC) entertained the assembled with a superb speech.
Peter Wood (Cooke Collegians CC) generously donated a Don Bradman framed print, bat and autograph and from the ballot, £500 was raised in memory of Davy Holmes. The lucky winner was Andrew Rose (Instonians CC). The funds will be going to Chest, Heart & Stroke NI.
If anyone is interested in getting involved with the Ulster Grasshoppers CC as a player or tourist - a long weekend tour is scheduled for late September 2018 to Malta, Cyprus or Corfu - feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings (as on 18 January, following the Centurion Test)
BATSMEN (top 20)
Rank (+/-) Player Team Points Avge Highest Rating
1 ( - ) Steve Smith Aus 947 63.75 947 v Eng at Sydney 2018
2 (+1) Virat Kohli Ind 900 53.51 900 v SA at Centurion 2018
3 (-1) Joe Root Eng 881 53.28 917 v Aus at Trent Bridge 2015
4 ( - ) Kane Williamson NZ 855 50.62 893 v Aus at Perth 2015
5 (+1) David Warner Aus 827 48.77 880 v NZ at Perth 2015
6 (-1) C Pujara Ind 814 51.09 888 v SL at Nagpur 2017
7 ( - ) Azhar Ali Pak 755 46.62 787 v Aus at Melbourne 2016
8 (+2) Hashim Amla SA 745 49.00 907 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2013
9 (-1) D. Chandimal SL 743! 43.94 743 v Ind at Delhi 2017
10 (-1) Alastair Cook Eng 742 46.35 874 v Ind at Kolkata 2012
11 ( - ) Ross Taylor NZ 739 48.04 871 v Win at Hamilton 2013
12 (+2) Faf du Plessis SA 734! 46.33 734 v Ind at Centurion 2018
13 ( - ) AB de Villiers SA 732 50.46 935 v Aus at Port Elizabeth 2014
14 (+2) Dean Elgar SA 711 41.35 740 v NZ at Dunedin 2017
15 (+2) Jonny Bairstow Eng 692 39.12 772 v SA at Old Trafford 2017
16 (+2) Kraigg Brathwaite Win 690 37.43 701 v Eng at Headingley 2017
17 (+2) Usman Khawaja Aus 685 45.80 747 v Pak at Sydney 2017
18 (-6) Lokesh Rahul Ind 683* 42.41 761 v SL at Pallekele 2017
19 (+1) Shaun Marsh Aus 660! 40.87 660 v Eng at Sydney 2018
20 (-5) Quinton de Kock SA 659 41.02 802 v NZ at Hamilton 2017
BOWLERS (top 20)
Rank (+/-) Player Team Points Avge Highest Rating
1 (+1) James Anderson Eng 887 27.40 896 v Win at Lord's 2017
2 (-1) Kagiso Rabada SA 872 22.25 888 v Ind at Cape Town 2018
3 ( - ) Ravindra Jadeja Ind 853 23.73 899 v Aus at Ranchi 2017
4 (+1) Josh Hazlewood Aus 814 25.77 863 v Ind at Bengaluru 2017
5 (-1) R. Ashwin Ind 811 25.56 904 v Eng at Mumbai 2016
6 (+1) Rangana Herath SL 799 28.04 867 v Zim at Harare 2016
7 (-1) Vernon Philander SA 787 21.95 912 v Ind at Johannesburg 2013
8 ( - ) Neil Wagner NZ 784 27.87 785 v Win at Wellington 2017
9= ( - ) Nathan Lyon Aus 769 31.64 774 v Eng at Adelaide 2017
( - ) Mitchell Starc Aus 769 27.73 805 v Pak at Brisbane 2016
11 ( - ) Morne Morkel SA 764 28.24 776 v Aus at Cape Town 2011
12 ( - ) Dale Steyn SA 730 22.32 909 v Win at Centurion 2014
13 ( - ) Trent Boult NZ 725 28.56 825 v Eng at Lord's 2015
14 ( - ) Yasir Shah Pak 704 29.44 878 v Eng at Lord's 2016
15 ( - ) Stuart Broad Eng 683 29.33 880 v SA at Johannesburg 2016
16 ( - ) Tim Southee NZ 682 31.45 799 v Win at Jamaica 2014
17 (+2) M. Shami Ind 672! 29.86 672 v SA at Centurion 2018
18 ( - ) Shakib Al Hasan Ban 668 32.35 705 v Aus at Mirpur 2017
19 (-2) Keshav Maharaj SA 640* 26.78 695 v Zim at Port Elizabeth 2017
20 ( - ) Kemar Roach Win 612 29.42 774 v SA at
ALL-ROUNDERS (top five)
Rank (+/-) Player Team Points Highest Rating
1 ( - ) Shakib Al Hasan Ban 438 489 v Aus at Mirpur 2017
2 ( - ) Ravindra Jadeja Ind 399 438 v SL at Colombo
3 ( - ) R. Ashwin Ind 375 493 v Eng at Mohali 2016
4 ( - ) Ben Stokes Eng 358 /* 396 v Win at Lord's 2017
5 ( - ) Vernon Philander SA 316 376 v Aus at Cape Town 2014
KOHLI WINS SIR GARFIELD SOBERS TROPHY FOR ICC CRICKETER OF THE YEAR
· Smith declared ICC Test Cricketer of the Year
· Kohli also awarded ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year
· Hasan Ali wins ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year, while Rashid Khan scoops ICC Associate Cricketer of the Year award
· Chahal’s six for 25 vs England earns him ICC T20I Performance of the Year award
· Marais Erasmus wins David Shepherd Trophy for ICC Umpire of the Year for second successive year, Anya Shrubsole wins ICC Spirit of Cricket Award
· Fans select “Pakistan stun India to win the ICC Champions Trophy 2017” as their favourite moment of the year
ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year 2017 (in batting order):
1. Dean Elgar (South Africa)
2. David Warner (Australia)
3. Virat Kohli (captain) (India)
4. Steve Smith (Australia)
5. Cheteshwar Pujara (India)
6. Ben Stokes (England)
7. Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper) (South Africa)
8. Ravichandran Ashwin (India)
9. Mitchell Starc (Australia)
10. Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)
11. James Anderson (England)
ICC Men’s ODI Team of the Year 2017 (in batting order):
1. David Warner (Australia)
2. Rohit Sharma (India)
3. Virat Kohli (captain) (India)
4. Babar Azam (Pakistan)
5. AB de Villiers (South Africa)
6. Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper) (South Africa)
7. Ben Stokes (England)
8. Trent Boult (New Zealand)
9. Hasan Ali (Pakistan)
10. Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
11. Jasprit Bumrah (India)
Ian Callender was a voting editor. Great to see his involvement at this level.
Cricket Features Highly In Shortlisted Nominations for the 2018 Belfast Telegraph Awards
After an historical year for Cricket in 2017 it is great to see cricket feature highly in the shortlisted nominations for the prestigious Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.
The Ireland Senior Men's team is shortlisted in the Platinum team of the year (full-time professional team) category following the historic confirmation in June of Ireland becoming an ICC full member with test status.
Waringstown Men's 1st XI has been shortlisted in the Gold team of the year (amateur team) category after their superb season winning four trophies including the Irish Cup, NCU Premier League, NCU T20 Cup and the Ulster Cup.
Ryan Eagleson, Ireland U19 Men's Head Coach has been shortlisted in the Manager / Coach of the year category after steering his young side to qualification for the ICC U19 World Cup, which is currently taking place in New Zealand.
James Shannon has been shortlisted for the Malcolm Brodie Player of the year award after an excellent season for the Northern Knights in the Interprovincial Series. Shannon's batting statistics showed what an outstanding talent he is finishing the season as the Tournament's top run scorer.
Congratulations to all shortlisted nominees in all of the categories. We look forward to what will be an excellent celebration of Sporting achievements in Northern Ireland at the gala dinner on Monday 29th January.
A full list of shortlisted nominees is available at the following link: