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David Skelton

Queensway, Derriaghy

17th Aug 2020

As many within the NCU family will know, 2020 is the Centenary year for Derriaghy CC. The club had several events planned to celebrate 100 years since their foundation but due to Covid 19 the majority of these have been postponed until next year when hopefully most things will be back to normal.
To mark our Centenary the club nominated Emerge Counselling Services as their charity partner. The LISBURN based charity provides services to clients with mental health problems including self-harm and suicidal tendencies.
At the start of the year the club approached the Union to seek their support in raising funds for Emerge and were delighted when permission was given to collect funds at the various T20 cup finals in 2020 for this important charity. Derriaghy would appeal to everyone attending games to consider donating something when approached by a 'bucket collector'. Your generosity will be much appreciated by the club and Emerge Counselling Services.


A very worthy charity.

Clarence Hiles

UC Headquarters

17th Aug 2020

Harold McCrory
Local cricket will be saddened by the passing of Harold McCrory, a former NCU Chairman and Hon. Life Member. Most people will remember for his loyal service to Laurelvale Cricket Club where he played his cricket, and then later rose to the ranks as Chairman, and then later at our Union. He was a conscientious administrator with a wry personality, and always cordial. I enjoyed his company and friendship, much like the Laurelvale culture, which enjoyed the after-match as much as the cricket itself. As General Secretary Bryan Milford said earlier today, we have lost one of the 'old brigade.' It is a sad time for both the club and the the NCU, but in particular Sally and the other members of the family.
Rest in Peace Harold.

Andy Kennedy


16th Aug 2020

It is with sadness that I learned of the death of Harold McCrory. An absolute gentleman and Jonny, Michael & I have many happy memories of our games with him. Deepest sympathy to his family.

Bryan Milford, NCU Sec.


14th Aug 2020

The prestige NCU women’s knockout trophy reaches the semi-final stage on Sunday with four Premier league teams aiming to claim their place in the final, scheduled for Sunday 30th August.
The first semi-final of the day sees cup holders CSNI on the road to play former winners Lurgan in what will be a tricky away tie for the holders. CSNI, having defeated North Down in their previous round by 7 wickets, with Healy and Thomas top performers with the bat and Lecky in fine form with the ball (2-15). However, CSNI will need to continue their good season form if they want to claim a place in the final and retain the trophy.
CSNI’s opponents, Lurgan, had a comfortable 67 run win against Carrickfergus in the previous round with Hinds top scoring with the bat and impressive bowling figures from Orr 3-11, Todd 2-8 and Rainey 2-8 making it a tough match for Carrick. Lurgan will be hoping home advantage also counts to enable them to stake a claim for a place in the final.
In the second semi-final last year’s finalists, Muckamore, are also on the road with a tough assignment away to Waringstown. In their previous round Muckamore defeated Holywood by 149 runs with top scorers Caulfied 58no and Logan 58 leading the way with the bat. Holywood had a tough day against some fine Muckamore bowling with Niblock 4-16, Murray 2-9 and Hall 2-1.
However, Muckamore will have to be on top form to overcome a strong Waringstown team who have recruited wisely this season and have been performing well so far. In the previous round they overcame a youthful Instonians side in a rain affected game by 9 wickets on run rate. Captain, Charlotte Lyons, will be looking forward to leading her young side out on Sunday at the Lawn.
All four teams will be looking forward to their games on Sunday and with two closely matched ties it will be interesting to see which two teams claim their place in the final on Sunday 30th August.
Semi-final Games
Lurgan vs CSNI – 11am, Lurgan
Waringstown v Muckamore – 1pm, The Lawn

Keith Montague

Clogherhead Co Louth

1st Aug 2020

Gallagher Women's Challenge Cup
My Predictions (Weather Permitting of course)
2nd August
Carrickfergus v Lurgan - Away Win
Holywood v Muckamore - Away Win
Instonians v Waringstown - Away Win
North Down v CSNI - Away Win
3 out of the 4 ties are easy to call as all Lurgan, Muckamore and Waringstown should progress with ease but the tie of the round is North Down v CSNI with the current holders taking on the 2016 winners at The Lawn v Waringstown but I just see CSNI taking it.
In the Inter Pro under 19's match at Coleraine a bit of a surprise result with the NWCU side beating the NCU side by 6 wickets. Maybe should not have been considering they beat the LCU by 9 wickets earlier on in the week. It will be interesting to see how they fare against the LCU in the under 15's at North Downs CC Comber and Balrothery home of North County CC
I feel looking at the scores so far in the Mens side of the sport that CIYMS are really the side to watch with scores of 140 plus in the league with C Dougherty player of the season candidate already. CSNI, Waringstown and North Down are in a battle for 2nd as I see it with the other 4 sides in the bottom half of the table. Feel Lisburn and Carrickfergus will be cut adrift after a good start by Woodvale (even though beaten by Waringstown on Saturday) could shock Insts in 2 weeks after another bad start to a season again.
Did contact Mr Milford as you suggested but no reply yet probably busy with all the under age stuff to be played before schools are back.
Thanks again Ed post more stuff soon and everyone keep healthy and safe in the island of Ireland

Bryan Milford, Sec NCU


31st Jul 2020

The 2020 NCU Gallagher Women’s Challenge Cup campaign gets underway this weekend with an exciting schedule of first round of games on Sunday 2nd August.
The holders, CSNI, begin their Cup campaign when they travel to The Green to play North Down. CSNI proved that they were a force to be reckoned with last summer as they clinched victory in the Cup final, beating a strong Muckamore side at Stormont. Chris Elliott’s squad will be going into the game on Sunday knowing that there is no room for error if they are to retain the trophy this season.
Last season’s runners-up, Muckamore, go into their first round game against Holywood in confident mood having already defeated their opponents in their season opener last weekend. Whilst Muckamore will start as strong favourites to make it into the semi-finals, Holywood’s young side will have learned from their previous encounter and will provide much tougher opposition in their game on Sunday.
The Instonians vs Waringstown tie will be a tough one to call at this stage. Waringstown had an excellent win in their season opener last weekend against North Down, with Cara Murray performing well with bat and ball. However, they will unfortunately be without Murray this time around due to an injury picked up on representative duty during the week. A young Instonians squad will be relying on the excellent early season form of Amy Hunter if they are to progress to the semi-finals.
Former Cup winners Lurgan will start as strong favourites in their tie against Division 1 side Carrick. Lurgan will be relying on strong performances from Emma McMurray and Hannah Grieve, who have both shown excellent early season form, if they are to ensure they progress to the semi-final stage of the competition.
With four exciting games ahead this weekend it will be interesting to see which four teams stay in the hunt for the Gallagher Women’s Challenge Cup this season and make it into the hat for the semi-final draw.
Gallagher Women’s Challenge Cup first schedule – Sunday 2nd August.
Carrick v Lurgan Carrick (TBC)
Holywood v Muckamore Seapark (1pm)
Instonians v Waringstown Shawsbridge (2pm)
North Down v CSNI The Green (12pm)
Photo (Presseye) – (l-r) Aisling Healy (CSNI), Richard Johnson, NCU President, Shane Matthews, Managing Director of Gallagher Northern Ireland, and Beth Healy (CSNI) with the Gallagher Women’s Challenge Cup

Holywood Cricket Club 1881


29th Jul 2020

A terrific article on Philip McCormick in the latest edition of PitchCare Magazine.
Unfortunately the NCU Groundsman Workshop that was scheduled for March and April at Holywood and hosted by Philip was cancelled so we hope this has some helpful information for all who are interested.

Keith Montague

Clogherhead Co Louth

29th Jul 2020

Hi there Ed nice to see the great initiative that a Womens League in 2 groups have been done and the 2 winners of both will meet in a League final plus the Cup makes it a minimum of 5 matches for a side this term.
Hopefully this type of format will stay in place for next year with a home and away plus the top 2 playing a Semi Final and Final and a plate for bottom 2 sides.
Have contacted all the clubs re scorecards but have not received any replies from any of them, as I have said in previous posts I am a stats nerd so please help me in this regard.

Keep safe ed and all the followers on the forum aswell.


Might be a better bet to contact NCU Sec Bryan Milford to link up with the NCU offcial responsible rather than receiving each scorecards.

Bryan Milford, Sec. NCU


24th Jul 2020

Thanks to all NCU clubs for their hard work in enabling their cricket activities to begin successfully last weekend.
Following the NI Executive announcement on 23rd July we have a further update for clubs in advance of the next series of fixtures scheduled for this weekend.
Spectators at Outdoor Sporting Events
The NI Executive legislation has now been updated to allow for spectators to attend outdoor sporting events from today (24th July).
The legislation provides that a person may not participate in an outdoor gathering of more than 30 persons, but that provision will not apply to a gathering which is organised for outdoor sports purposes and which fulfils these conditions:
The person responsible for organising the gathering
(a) has carried out a risk assessment which meets the requirements of the of Health and safety at Work Regulations (NI) 2000, whether or not that person is subject to those regulations; and
(b) takes all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus, including implementing the preventive and protective measures identified in the risk assessment undertaken in accordance with sub-paragraph (a) and complying with any relevant guidance issued by a Northern Ireland Department.
This is welcomed news for all cricket clubs throughout the region and we know you will all be looking forward to welcoming spectators back to your facilities. However, the NI Executive and the Department for Communities have emphasised that these “decisions place enormous responsibility on Governing Bodies, clubs and venue operators as well as on individuals. The risk of the virus continues to be very real. Where possible, everyone must observe social distancing and good hygiene practices”.
We would therefore remind clubs that the current Safe Return to Play Protocols (SSRTP) issued on 7th July are still required to be followed and in particular social distancing (2m), sanitation & hygiene procedures and contact tracing records are required to be kept for all visitors to your club facility.
Supporting COVID Safety at NCU Clubs
Continuing on from the good work of NCU clubs from last weekend, and in advance of the next series of club fixtures this weekend, we also have some key Covid safety measures we would like to re-emphasise to clubs to support you in your delivery of cricket activity.
The points outlined below are based on feedback from clubs and some key learnings from the first weekend of fixtures.
• Clubs are reminded to continue to practice social distancing of 2m within their cricket facilities and remind members and visitors / spectators of the need to do so. Clubs are encouraged to contact each other prior to each match - through club secretaries and/or COVID Safety Officers (CSO’s) - to share as much relevant information as possible.
• Club CSO’s must arrive at the venue well in advance of the start of the game to ensure all preparatory tasks are completed prior to the arrival of players and personnel.
• Club CSO’s must not have any other role on the day of the match and must certainly not also be an umpire or player involved in the matches.
• Club CSO’s must fully adhere to and follow the required check-in process for officials, home and visiting team members
• Full record keeping must be maintained of all attendees (Teams, officials and spectators) - visiting team contact details can be supplied in advance and then confirmed on arrival.
• Visiting teams must be advised of all Covid safety aspects by the home team, including location of toilets and water/sanitising solutions for optimised hygiene standards.
• Short pre-match briefings for both teams with umpires and CSO’s are encouraged as a means of reacquainting everyone with their safety responsibilities.
• Toilet facilities must be available and maintained in a clean condition at all times.
• Umpires should not be asked to hold any player clothing and/or caps etc.
NCU staff will continue to be available to support clubs with any queries or issues they may have as they implement their cricket activity in the weeks ahead.

Albert Ward


23rd Jul 2020

Great to see cricket back. A shame that A Bushe has concentrated his reports on spectators not being allowed to access the grounds - a rule imposed on clubs across all sports- he went as far to say if he couldn't get in to watch it was pointless even playing at all. What about the players? Such a selfish attitude in my opinion.
Strange move from Carrick to bring in Scottish international Munsey for games which are more or less glorified friendlies- why not play a young lad or actually keep the 2 Burtons?



22nd Jul 2020

The article about Bill McCarroll rekindled some of my own memories.
As a very young secretary at Cregagh CC Bill welcomed me to the new role and straight away offered his guidance and any assistance that I might need. Fair to say I needed his assistance a lot in those early days and it was something that always stayed with me. He was always free for a chat, or if I had a query and the advice he give me back then still holds true today.
A true gentleman.


He was very special.


Chambers park

20th Jul 2020

A shout out for the Taverners.
While everyone was in lock-down the Taverners were busy facilitating cricket for young people with disabilities and learning difficulties . The young people are part of a family crisis support programme that was introduced by the health trust when the specialised schools closed in March.
We have played table cricket and indoor cricket and we've had a wheel chair cricketer involved as well.
The Taverners have long been involved with disability cricket, we are fortunate to have coaches with the skills and experience required to allow these young people to participate in cricket.
With the programme set to continue through August the young people will probably get to play more cricket than the Taverners team this season.


Well done Alan.

Keith Montague

Clogherhead Co Louth

19th Jul 2020

It has been a long time since I posted here so much has happend.
I would like to extend my condolences to those who we lost during the close season and to the victims of the current crises we are still going through. May they Rest In Peace
With no crowds allowed at the matches over the weekend something what Waringstown done was a great idea in streaming the match v Insts on Facebook and nice to see the CIYMS v CSNI live scored to on the TCS System.
Lets hope now the season sees its way now and everyone keeps safe and well during this period. We have done the hard work so keep it up.


Thanks Keith and good to hear from you. Strange times but we'll get through!


NCU Headquarters

14th Jul 2020

20/20 Vision sees Cricket start in the NCU
The Northern Cricket Union has revealed a major revamp of what remains of its season with a series of competitions all played under 20 over rules.
The shortened games in the shortened season get under way on Saturday with the Union's three main sponsors coming together for a completely new look fixture list.
The eight Premier league clubs will compete for the Robinson Services Cup, playing each other once with the top four going through to the semi-finals. The eight clubs will also play a knock out competition for the Lagan Valley Steels T20 Cup with the winner lining up in the All-Ireland T20 finals.
The 10 Senior League 1 clubs will play each other once for the Robinson Services Trophy as well as a knock out competition for the Lagan Valley Steels T20 Trophy.
Senior Leagues 2 and 3 are completely reorganised with the 12 clubs divided into three groups of four to compete for the Robinson Services Bowl. The teams will play each other home and away with the group winners and the best runner-up proceeding to the semi-finals.
The three groups are:
Group A: Cooke Collegians, Laurelvale, Lurgan, Victoria
Group B: Ards, Bangor, Donaghadee, Holywood
Group C: BISC, Dundrum, Dunmurry, Drumaness Super Kings.
The will be no men's Gallagher Senior Challenge this year but the company will sponsor the women's Challenge Cup.
Saturday's opening fixtures are:
Robinson Services Cup: CIYMS v CSNI; Instonians v Waringstown (at The Lawn); Lisburn v Woodvale; North Down v Carrickfergus.
Robinson Services Trophy: Armagh v Derriaghy; Ballymena v Saintfield; Cregagh v Cliftonville Academy; Donacloney Mill v Downpatrick; Muckamore v Templepatrick.Robinson Services Bowl:
Group A: Lurgan v Laurelvale; Cooke Collegians v Victoria.
Group B: Holywood v Bangor; Donaghadee v Ards.
Group C: BISC v Drumaness Super Kings; Dundrum v Dunmurry.


Like many other cricket enthusiasts we are disappointed that the Senior Challenge Cup will not take place. Only the Great War stopped it. Unprecented days perhaps, but cricket is about to take place, yet the biggest prize has been robbed from teams.

Peter Wood

Waiting at home to see if I am allowed into matches

11th Jul 2020

I really enjoyed the article on Bill McCarroll. A truly brilliant administrator and a real gentleman.
Whilst I was Hon Secretary of the NCU I assisted Bill with some events such as the Annual Dinner. He was a pleasure to work with, but unfortunately fell sick during the summer of 2001 and I was landed with all his duties. Everything was paper based in those days and my postman was inundated with Cup results, registrations, Umpire reports and ground gradings! I was so relieved when Bill returned to his duties.
In the NCU we should be very grateful for the administrators we have had over the years who have carried out their duties so faithfully. Like Clarence, I have to mention also my good friend Bryan Milford who has served the Union so well since Bill passed. Along with other administrators in the past and at the current times we must surely be the envy of many other sports.