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Craig Easdown, Cricket Ireland

The Green, North Down CC

16th May 2021

COMBER – Irish international Paul Stirling smashed a 21-ball half-century to launch the Northern Knights’ 5-wicket victory over table-topping Leinster Lightning in the Inter-Provincial Cup match today at North Down Cricket Club.
Player of the Match Stirling’s whirlwind 64 from 26 balls gave the Northern Knights the impetus to comfortably defeat the defending Cup champions. Despite the Knights total being only 71 when Stirling eventually nicked off to Josh Little, the damage was done as the Knights run chase was only 6 overs in, leaving a very achievable run rate required for victory on a pitch offering more to the batters as the day went on. Stirling’s innings featured 5 sixes and 8 fours - his destructive power on the pull shot was on display for all to see, with all of his sixes and four of his boundaries being pull shots behind square or square of the wicket.
Jeremy Lawlor (80*), who anchored the remainder of the run chase, looked at in complete control from then on. The Welsh-born top order batter ran well between the wickets, often putting pressure on the field through turning ones into twos, and his 138-run fourth wicket partnership with Luke Georgeson (58) ensured the Northern team’s successful run chase. Mark Adair also chimed in with a 25* from 23 balls at the end to finish the job.
The Lightning bowlers toiled well, but in the end could not contain the run rate as the Knights cruised to a five-wicket win.
Earlier in the day, the Knights captain Harry Tector had won the toss and opted to bowl. The home side immediately removed Lightning dangerman Kevin O’Brien with the first ball of the inning, and shortly after dismissed Jack Tector (4) to leave the Lightning in early trouble at 11-2 in the second over.
Enter Andrew Balbirnie. The Irish captain, who was featuring in his first match in Ireland after his early season stint with Glamorgan, played an almost flawless innings of 126 from 151 balls - playing shots to all parts and pacing his innings with experience and guile.
Balbirnie featured strongly in two partnerships that first stabilized the innings, and then accelerated the Lightning’s run rate so that a score of around 250 seemed achievable. He firstly shared a 54-run third-wicket stand with Lorcan Tucker (14), then followed in a 120-run partnership with George Dockrell.
While Balbirnie went about his batting in the assured manner Irish fans are familiar with, Dockrell once again impressed with the bat, scoring 58 from 83 balls, including six boundaries. He has now scored 51*, 100* and 58 in his three IP50 knocks in 2021, and is potentially batting his way into contention for the upcoming World Cup Super League series against the Netherlands in June.
Barry McCarthy played a big-hitting cameo at the end with 20* from 7 balls, and Leinster Lightning finished on 243-7 from 50 overs.
For the Knights, Georgeson bowled impressively for his 3-44 - his figures being dented by his last over where he went for 18 run – while Matthew Foster (1-34) looked lively and Ben White followed up his good performance in the last match for the Ireland Wolves with an equally impressive 1-38 from his 10 overs.
The Knights are back in action against North West Warriors at Stormont on Tuesday, while the Lightning face Munster Reds at Pembroke on Thursday.
MATCH SUMMARY
Northern Knights v Leinster Lightning, Inter-Provincial Cup, Comber, 16 May 2021
Lightning 243-7 (50 overs; A Balbirnie 126, G Dockrell 58; L Georgeson 3-44)
Knights 244-5 (43.5 overs; J Lawlor 80*, P Stirling 64, L Georgeson 58; B McCarthy 3-64
Knights won by 5 wickets

Ollie Thorpe, NCU

Stormont

11th May 2021

NORTHERN CRICKET UNION ANNOUNCES NEW WOMEN'S COMPETITION FOR 2021
The Northern Cricket Union (NCU) is excited to announce a new competition for the 2021 season – the Gallagher Women’s Challenge Plate.
In 2021, the Gallagher Women’s Challenge Plate will see the seven sides in Division One of the women’s league compete against each other in three rounds: the quarter-final, the semi-final and final.
The winner of the competition, along with the runners-up and the winner of a third-place play-off will join the five Premier League teams in the Gallagher Women’s Challenge Cup.
The premise of the Gallagher Women’s Challenge Plate is to provide more competitive matches for those who are starting out in the sport.
There will be three quarter-final ties: Holywood v Waringstown II, CSNI II v North Down II and Muckamore II v Instonians. The winner of these ties will progress to the semi-finals; they will be joined by Carrickfergus who received a bye in the quarter-final draw.
Speaking of the announcement, NCU Cricket Development Officer, Callum Atkinson, said: “We are delighted to announce this new competition for the 2021 season.
“To provide women with more competitive cricket is fantastic – bringing the game into line with the men’s Gallagher Challenge Cup where there’s a preliminary round.
“The NCU would like to thank Gallagher for the continued support of our women’s game and we look forward to working with them during this competition.”
Shane Matthews, NI Managing Director of Gallagher, said: “This year gives those starting out in cricket an opportunity to compete through the Gallagher Women’s Challenge Plate and we are delighted to be a part of it.
“We were first involved in supporting women’s cricket back in 2017 and it is so positive to see how much the game has grown in recent years - long may that continue.”

Andy Mccrea

Templepatrick CC

9th May 2021

FAO Dan Carson.
Templepatrick CC are looking for games for our U20s group if you are interested. We have quite a few who play on our Senior teams and would love to get them opportunities to play together.
Contact me on mccrea.a@sky.com if you are keen.
Regards
Andy McCrea

Terry mccloskey

Larne

8th May 2021

Great to see the game back im out of this season with surgery but will be back stronger than ever

Response

ed...
Recover well Terry.

Dan Carson

The Meadow

2nd May 2021

Might be a long shot but any Junior 1 or 2 sides available/interested in a 20-30 over friendly against Downpatrick next Saturday 8th May? We are happy to travel if needs be. Thanks

Response

Ed...
Let's give some support to Downpatrick!

Oliver Thorpe, NCU

Stormont

28th Apr 2021

The Northern Cricket Union (NCU) are delighted to announce the draws for the preliminary round and first round proper of the 2021 Gallagher Challenge Cup.
The preliminary round will see the lowest ranked Section 1 sides play against each other, with the ties as follows: Cliftonville Academy v Bangor and Saintfield v Armagh. These ties will be played on Saturday 12 June.
The first round proper will see the remaining Section 1 clubs and the eight Premier League sides enter the competition. These ties will be contested on Saturday 3 July.
Defending champions CIYMS will entertain Carrickfergus at Belmont in the only all-Premier League tie. Elsewhere, beaten finalists in 2019, Instonians, will face a trip to Eaton Park to take on Ballymena, Lisburn will welcome Donacloney Mill to Wallace Park and Woodvale will host Templepatrick at Ballygomartin Road.
CSNI, North Down and Waringstown will all face a trip to Section 1 clubs in the opening round.
The only all-Section 1 tie will see Muckamore entertain Cregagh at Moylena.
In addition to the draws, insurance broker, Gallagher, has also agreed to sponsor both the men’s and women’s Challenge Cups for a further three years.
Speaking at the draw NCU President Roger Bell said: "We’re glad to have the Gallagher Challenge Cup back again after its hiatus in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year we are hoping to have a full 50-over competition with the preliminary round kicking proceedings off on 12 June.
“We are also delighted to have Gallagher as our sponsor again for the next three years and we look forward to working with them.”
NI Managing Director at Gallagher, Shane Matthews, added: “We’re delighted to be involved again with the Gallagher Challenge Cup in 2021.
“This will be our sixth year involved in cricket within the NCU and we’ve really enjoyed it. We see ourselves as a community broker and we love being involved with the local community in the summer months.”
2021 Gallagher Challenge Cup Draws
Preliminary Round – Saturday 12 June
Cliftonville Academy v Bangor
Saintfield v Armagh
First Round Proper – Saturday 3 July
Saintfield or Armagh v CSNI
Lisburn v Donacloney Mill
Muckamore v Cregagh
Woodvale v Templepatrick
CIYMS v Carrickfergus
Derriaghy v Waringstown
Cliftonville Academy or Bangor v North Down
Ballymena v Instonians

Andy Kennedy

Buckna

23rd Apr 2021

No spectators? What would the situation in venues such as Wallace Park, Lurgan Park or Sandy Bay for example where people can stop on their exercise walks? Another “back of an envelope” decision from the NI Executive!!

Response

Ed...
I always remember of a wee woman being intereviewed by the BBC and asked about the NI Executive. She said..."Put them all together in a boat in the Belfast Lough and SINK it."
That sounds a great idea!

Roger Bell, NCU President

Northern Ireland

23rd Apr 2021

Competitive Cricket to begin again in the NCU from 8th May
NCU
The NCU, alongside NWCU and Cricket Ireland, welcomes the opportunity for cricket competitions to begin again in Northern Ireland from 8th May. Following consultations with all of our clubs we are now in a position to begin to outline the proposed schedule and fixtures for the 2021 season. The proposed schedule is based on current guidelines on restrictions and what we know now. It is of course subject to change with the future easing of NI Executive restrictions as we move through the season.
Our plan outlines a phased approach with:
-an initial return to T20 competitions from 8th May.
-an indicative date of 12th June for a return to longer formats of the game.
That indicative date for longer formats is subject to change and is dependent on the progress of easing of government restrictions. If restrictions ease earlier than that date then some competitions, such as the Robinsons Services Senior League Section 1, may revert to a longer format earlier, which has already been discussed with those clubs involved.
Updates regarding spectators and hospitality will be issued once further government guidelines are announced, however clubs are reminded that currently no spectators are permissible at any matches.
We will continue to monitor government announcements and guidelines and communicate with our clubs if we need to make any adjustments to the season schedule. We all look forward to a safe return to cricket in the weeks ahead.
Clubs will be issued with fixtures, as well as the Return to Play protocols soon, to assist with preparation for competitions starting on 8th May

Response

Ed...
No spectators! Ugh!

Andy Kennedy

Buckna

23rd Apr 2021

Barry seems to have his ear close to the ground (no pun intended!) about the alleged mismanagement of the pitch preparation down there! I don’t think it’s innuendo for those with the inside track. I share your optimism - maybe in my lifetime too! I’ll buy the 1st round that day!!

Response

ed...
I'll remember that! LOL

Andy Kennedy

Costa Buckna

22nd Apr 2021

Barry Chambers refers to.the radio interview with the head of CI - I too heard the interview and I was delighted to learn that we will have a national stadium “soon”! No other info so it reminds me of the mantra we hear that “we are following the data” but we never hear what the data indicates. I understand that the Abbottsford project may be tied up in legal proceedings so sounds like serious problems!,

Response

Ed...
Public 'problems' creates innuendo, gossip, confusion, speculation and chaos. Best to deal with the C of I and Board as they are in the right place to deal with it. Hopefully it will happen in my lifetime!
JCH

C Boomer

Dromore ( Co Down )

14th Apr 2021

The late Duke and the Queen herself, indeed the greater royal family circle, always enjoyed watching and still do the game of cricket when their busy schedules permitted, here's my tribute to HRH the late Duke in remembrance and of course, the great lady herself who remains a fan ..
The secret of her success ..

In the year of our Lord 1926, 21st April, a baby princess, born
into an everchanging, unforgiving world,
salutations, adulations, adorations, celebrations, indifference
privileged upbringing, yet, modesty unfurled

Through bloody war, ever stoic, loyal to King, country, throne
nation of evacuees consolidated, fortified,
morale-boosting address, 'let's not relinquish, accede to duress'
teenage valour, united, emboldened, dignified

A noble suiter, Prince Philip, consummate couple, married 1947
no clandestine wedding, in attendance the press,
though a country, economically defaulted, its citizens exalted
royal bride traded coupons, buy material for dress

Heir presumptive, coronation glory, somewhat premature, 1953
upon coiffed, auburn locks, royal, jewelled crown,
highest office of kingdom, air, land and sea, 25yr old Queen
steadfast by her side, Prince Philip, consort renown

Befitting of love, four, fine children, nature's blessed gift
monarch and mother, who balanced the scales,
weighed equal, demands of nobility, maternal devotion
if she felt lowly, loving hubby, steadied her sails

Years passed as do people, time waits not even for Queens
trails, tribulations, tempered by happy times,
despite castles and titles, life, not a manicured, bed of roses
she weathered every storm, held tight her lines

Fast forward 2021, grandmother-great, a proud patriot
who rightfully, still remains on the throne,
silver, golden, diamond, sapphire jubilees, 73 yrs married
now her Prince passed on, monarch alone..

solemn words to the nation, his death; " left a huge void in my life"
though his legacy, his loving spirit, evergreen,
her wish to be judged, traits of loving husband, with humour, gentleness, understanding; Elizabeth II..
" God save the Queen! "

Response

ED...
Thanks Caleb. Welcome back!

Andy Kennedy

sunny Buckna

12th Apr 2021

One of the targets in the Strategic Plan is to "improve facilities at the National Sports Complex". If I read between the lines of Barry Chambers' postings on the "other" site correctly, there appears to be a considerable amount of expensive and time consuming remedial work required. Is anybody going to put their hand up over this apparent mis-management?

Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland

Dublin

9th Apr 2021

DUBLIN – Cricket Ireland has today released a revised fixture schedule for the men’s Inter-Provincial Series 2021.
While all matches are subject to approval from sporting and health authorities on both sides of the border, approval has been given from both Sport Ireland and Sport NI to restart training at the inter-provincial level (under strict protocols), and it is anticipated that on-field action will proceed as scheduled below.
Speaking about the revised schedule, Richard Holdsworth, High Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, said:
“With no competitive club cricket expected in the Republic in the short term due to COVID-19 government directives, we have made several revisions to the 2021 Inter-Provincial Series to ensure our men’s national players are as prepared as possible before the World Cup Super League matches in early June.”
“This new schedule maximises playing time for our players that will be heading to The Netherlands for the those key matches, and we sincerely appreciate the support of those clubs who have been able to accommodate these changes.”
START
01/05/2021
IP50
Leinster Lightning vs North West Warriors
Pembroke
10:45
04/05/2021
IP50
Leinster Lightning vs Northern Knights
Pembroke
10:45
06/05/2021
IP50
North West Warriors vs Munster Reds
Eglinton
10:45
16/05/2021
IP50
Northern Knights vs Leinster Lightning
The Green, Comber
10:45
18/05/2021
IP50
Northern Knights vs North West Warriors
Stormont
10:45
20/05/2021
IP50
Leinster Lightning vs Munster Reds
Pembroke
10:45
21/05/2021
IP50
North West Warriors vs Northern Knights
Bready
10:45
22/05/2021
IP50
Munster Reds vs Leinster Lightning
MCU Region
10:45
25/05/2021
IP50
North West Warriors vs Leinster Lightning
Eglinton
10:45
27/05/2021
IP50
Munster Reds vs Northern Knights
MCU Region
10:45
10/06/2021
IP50
Northern Knights vs Munster Reds
Stormont
10:45
15/06/2021
IP50
Munster Reds vs North West Warriors
MCU Region
10:45
18/06/2021
IP20
Leinster Lightning vs Munster Reds
Pembroke
18/06/2021
IP20
Northern Knights vs North West Warriors
Pembroke
19/06/2021
IP20
Leinster Lightning vs Northern Knights
Pembroke
19/06/2021
IP20
Munster Reds vs North West Warriors
Pembroke
20/06/2021
IP20
Leinster Lightning vs North West Warriors
Pembroke
20/06/2021
IP20
Northern Knights vs Munster Reds
Pembroke
25/06/2021
IP20
North West Warriors vs Northern Knights
Ready
25/06/2021
IP20
Leinster Lightning vs Munster Reds
Bready
26/06/2021
IP20
North West Warriors vs Munster Reds
Bready
26/06/2021
IP20
Northern Knights vs Leinster Lightning
Bready
27/06/2021
IP20
North West Warriors vs Leinster Lightning
Bready
27/06/2021
IP20
Northern Knights vs Munster Reds
Bready
17/09/2021
IP20
Northern Knights vs North West Warriors
NCU Region
-
17/09/2021
IP20
Leinster Lightning vs Munster Reds
NCU Region
18/09/2021
IP20
Northern Knights vs Leinster Lightning
NCU Region
18/09/2021
IP20
North West Warriors vs Munster Reds
NCU Region
19/09/2021
IP20
Northern Knights vs Munster Reds
NCU Region
19/09/2021
IP20
Leinster Lightning vs North West Warriors
NCU Region

Craig Easdown Cricket Ireland

Dublin

9th Apr 2021

DUBLIN – A new three-year Strategic Plan released today by Cricket Ireland aims to strengthen Irish cricket from grassroots to international levels – with a particular focus on supporting the club game, increasing opportunities for women and girls, and introducing new mass participation programmes to position the sport for a period of growth across Ireland.
The Plan, titled: “Creating a Cricket Island” sets out a staged approach to growing the game of cricket across Ireland. The next three years will see a consolidation of the sport’s achievements over the last decade, strengthening the foundations of the sport, and positioning cricket for a planned period of growth from 2024-2031.
Amongst the key headlines of the Strategic Plan, Cricket Ireland will aim to:
Roll out three new national participation programmes to engage kids and provide schools with resources, training and access to advocates for the game;
Significantly increase opportunities for women and girls to play cricket - including new programmes, club supports and increasing the visibility of the women’s game;
Invest in the performance pathway and further support men’s and women’s international squads to seek on-field success and regular world cup qualification;
Work with Provincial Unions to ensure every club across Ireland has a development plan that reflects the needs and capacity of the club;
Implement a sustained investment in coaching to increase the number and skills of those involved;
Deliver proactive programmes that further increase diversity and inclusion – aiming to make cricket one of the most welcoming sports in Ireland; and
Improving training facilities within Provincial Unions and to progress the National Stadium project at the National Sports Campus in Dublin.

WILLIAM DALE

Belfast

8th Apr 2021

Sad to see on the list of recent transfers that 6 players are exiting Downpatrick .
What is the current situation?
A once great club and I loved playing at Downpatrick and some epic encounters are in my memory bank.
Hope things improve at Strangford Avenue.