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NCU Headquarters

25th May 2020

NCU Update to Clubs - 24th May 2020
The NCU provides the following update to clubs:
The NCU welcome confirmation from Cricket Ireland today that a submission has been made to both Sport Ireland and Sport NI regarding a return-to-training for cricket across Ireland and Northern Ireland in Phase 2 / Step 2 of the respective government roadmaps to reopening.
We also welcomed the publication today of the Sport NI 'Getting Back to Sport - Framework' and in particular the inclusion of cricket within Step 2 of the NI Executive's Coronavirus Recovery. This provided some clarity in respect of the return to cricket in the steps ahead for sport in the NI context, which helped to finalise the Cricket Ireland submission.
As outlined by Cricket Ireland the submission has been developed in collaboration with health and sports authorities, Provincial Unions, as well as in liaison with other sports in Ireland, other cricket boards and using draft ICC guidelines.
The NCU will continue to work with Cricket Ireland, the Provincial Unions and the relevant government departments to finalise the protocols for 'Return to Cricket' and we hope to be in a position soon to announce the first step in returning to cricket training.
Cricket clubs so far have been excellent in supporting the guidelines and these high levels of compliance will aid us in our proposals to Sport NI/Sport Ireland. We would remind clubs to continue to follow the guidelines and not to operate any cricket activity or training during Step 1 of the Northern Ireland Executive's Coronavirus Recovery Plan. This directive also applies to Phase 1 of the Government of Ireland's Roadmap To Reopen SocietyWe will discuss the practicalities with clubs when the protocols are approved. Details of how we will do this will be communicated to clubs in due course.



23rd May 2020

I have to agree with Section 1 cricketer. I cannot see the point of diluting the quality of cricket in both the PL and Section 1 by increasing the number of teams.
Having played in the PL in a promoted side, the novelty of losing and more importantly not competing wears off quickly.
It would be interesting to hear the views of clubs in section 1 it is likely to effect.

Section 1 cricketer

Desperate for some cricket

22nd May 2020

Please tell me what advantage there is in 4 section 1 teams playing premier league cricket at a level clearly too high for them.
Interested to hear everyone else’s opinion on the matter. I can imagine some premier league players licking their lips at the thought of boosting their averages but look at previous season results in the challenge cup and you’ll see section 1 teams will be in a hiding to nothing.
They won’t be able to afford a pro to compete. Most teams are carrying 3 or 4 players as it is (me being one of them) I can see this putting a lot of players off playing 1st eleven cricket. I’m bemused.


I have to say I'm bemused too.
And yes, if the weaker clubs want to aspire to the highest level they probably need to recruit from more players and/or a professional. Several clubs obviously don't, either because they can't afford the funds or they simply want to play in an amateur culture. Those teams are certainly in for a hiding. Is this a progressive move I also ask?



16th May 2020

The NCU Board provides the following update to clubs:
On Tuesday 12th May 2020 the NI Executive announced its approach to decision making to gradually ease the restrictions currently imposed upon us. This included a section specifically addressing sport, cultural and leisure facilities setting out a five stage plan. No indicative dates have been given for the introduction of any of those stages.
We can surmise that the first possible step when we might resume some cricket activity could be at step 2 with "the resumption of team sports training in small groups", then in larger groups at step 3. It remains to be seen whether the resumption of matches will be at step 4.
In support of the Executive's phased approach Sport NI is developing a "sports sector framework for recovery" to act as a high level guide for sports as they consider their specific plans for resumption. This should be available next week.
In the meantime, Cricket Ireland has been leading the development of a "Back to cricket training/playing" protocol in consultation with health experts, sports authorities, players/officials and the Provincial Unions. This has to address the tricky balance between the public health requirements that must be met to allow for the protection of everyone involved including the wider community, and the desire to have meaningful and enjoyable cricket activity without unduly onerous conditions. This will have to be agreed with Sport NI and the NI Executive before any resumption of cricket can take place.
We announced previously that cricket activity would be suspended until at least 28th May 2020. The NCU Board met on 14th May and decided that the suspension of all cricket activity will continue until we receive clarity from Sport NI and the NI Executive. We will also take into account the responses of clubs to our suggested programme for cricket in what will be, at best, a truncated season.
In addition, it was agreed that registrations and starrings should not be required from clubs until such times as there is clarity around the date for recommencement of competitive cricOur priority is to support our clubs to deliver elements of outdoor cricket in a responsible way that does not comply to League Restructuring Consultation
We have received responses from almost every club to the proposals for the restructuring of the Robinson Services Premier and Senior Leagues. We are grateful for the time and thought given to this subject by our clubs. There was overwhelming support for change. However, some suggestions for variations to the proposals were also received principally relating to the number of teams in each league was also clear that many clubs did not wish for the proposals to take effect until season 2022 and the Board has agreed with this.The Board has now asked the Domestic Cricket Directorate to review the proposals in light of the responses working towards proposals for change to be tabled at this years' AGM, for implementation in the 2022 season.

Jeff Maguire

great see rain help the grass seed on boundary extensions.

29th Apr 2020

Editor i think its fantastic work the NCU done producing the document for the way forward well done everyone involved. Only my opinion but id add 2 up 2 down and no league fixtures in April allowing for chance of proper pre season friendlies and possible away tours involving North west or Dublin or UK .
Was speaking to our unpaid groundsman who is working at the meadow over 56 years he is now a sprightly 82 year old and still fit cut the square and prepare wickets Tommy Curlett . Tom told me about the local trades league in county down Dundrum played Minerstown over three saturdays 2 innings Downshire cup final at Ballykinler Army camp which Dundrum won and still hold the cup.
We update on our club with such a superb march and spring we got the new fantastic electric scorebox built just waiting on plaster coming to finish as the whole building was done voluntary by two young Curlett brothers bricklayer Jim 76 and joiner Bobby 74 and Jack another 81year old is assistant groundman and the club is indebted to this family who all played and are still paying membership fees as they proper stalwarts of a great village club .The scorebox will have free full wifi as the meadow has full wifi coverage from the gate entrance and kettle for tea and coffee for the scorers and hopefully a mini fridge .The treasurer a younger stalwart at only 58 Stephen Calvert is the brains and driving force of all our plans from Wifi to boundary extensions and scorebox to the next phase 2021/22 a new 2 bay fully enclosed net facility and most will be amazed at the changes as they turned the square around and boundary extensions and drainage completed new trees replanted .
The club is proud that they held their first NCU Minor Lindsay cup final last year and got great feedback from Ncu & NIACUS and both finalists Woodvale and Instonians as the club have much improved facilities with covers and double sight screens at both ends and look forward to holding more in future .


Thanks Jeff. You are doing great at Dundrum especially with the Curlett family , Stephen Calvert and of course, yourself! All we need!
On the Trades Cricket League, I've heard about it, but we need more details to publish in UC. Especially when you won it!
My Grandfather was Jimmy Calvert born and bred in Derryboye close to Killyleagh. He survived the Battle of the Somme. There are other Calverts in Derryboye. Has Stephen any connections?



23rd Apr 2020

Forgetting about cup competitions below senior and junior cup is a disgrace they can be played if we get any cricket at all if each team is playing each other only once and they should be the only trophies available no league trophies should be given out but when does the ncu give a toss about the lower teams


I don't agree with your NCU opinion. The lower leagues start as grassroots and only fools would neglect them. The NCU are not fools. Setting this aside, the NCU are in a difficult predictament. They want cricket asap, but are dependent on circumstances beyond their control and provisionally planning for events that may or may not happen, dependent on Covid-19 being resolved. Dave, I'm sure you share with the frustrations too, and I'm also sure clubs will be able to air their opinions prior to events and tournamants. As for my humble opinion, I think the cups should take place in the lower leagues and teams will decide whether to play or not. If indeed there is cricket. These are unprecented times.

Aaron Kernohan


20th Apr 2020

Very interested to read some of the info that's appeared lately on the site regarding the various Ulster Leagues as it happens to link in with a bit of a mystery that has cropped up. I recently found some trophies in my late grandfather Roy Braidner's stash from 1953 (league and cup winners) and 1954 (Cup winners).
Having done some research on Twitter it appears they relate to Albert Foundry Recreation Association. This ties in well as my grandfather was an employee of Mackies. It was suggested (by Ian Johnston) that perhaps they were part of an industrial league from that time?

If anyone can shed any further light on this it would be much appreciated, and I'd like to thank the many who replied via twitter and got me this far!

(Photos of the trophies are available here: )


Aaron, Very interesting and you have a number of good 'leads.' With the Woodvale connections, Davy Scott has a number of photos and if his name is in the match against St Mary's that would greatly help. There are a lot of photos in that era. It could be Belfast Cricket League or perhaps the Larne League with the same name? If he lived overseas for a time I suspect the little shields may be somewhere else? You'll need more investigation. Good luck.

Robin Walsh

UC Headquarters

19th Apr 2020

Basil McNamee
Most saddened to learn of Basil McNamee’s death: such an admirable servant of the game at local and national level.
I had the pleasure of playing on the same Foyle College side with Basil and elder brother Derek back in the ‘50s and, without doubt, it was the best school team in the country - for two obvious reasons. A few years later I was to experience the brothers’ talent in opposition when they distinguished the North side of the ‘60s. No doubt whose side I’d rather be on. I rekindled my friendship with Basil in more recent times when he became president of the NCU and then Irish cricket: always a pleasure to enjoy his company and his insights into the game. Alas, the current crisis facing the community will no doubt rob us of sharing our memories at a public tribute. This will obviously add to the pain of members of Basil’s family to whom I extend my sincere sympathy.
Robin Walsh


Yes, very sad indeed. Basil was a lovely person and distinguished himself in many different roles particularly in cricket and golf and as a doctor. He played cricket for Queen's University, North of Ireland and Dungannon, when he worked in the hospital. He and his three sons played for Dungannon CC, and that was a big asset at the time. He was a great Ambassador of the NCU and Irish cricket.
Rest in Peace, Basil.

David Skelton

Queensway, Derriaghy

14th Apr 2020

Many thanks for including article on our club's Centenary year on your Features page. Not only us but everyone will remember the year 2020 for the rest of our lives. Stay safe.


Ed - No problem David, pleasure to do it for your Club. #Stay safe & well

Michael Kennedy


26th Mar 2020

Stuart, there was a press release by the ECB giving some guidelines.

Bryan Milford, Sec NCU


26th Mar 2020

In consultation with Cricket Ireland and the other Provincial Unions, the NCU have decided to extend the suspension of all activities under our auspices until at least 28 May 2020.
The postponement of the start of the season will allow us to observe government directives and public health protocols, and ensure the welfare and safety of our volunteers, players, staff, coaches, and families within the cricket community, and we will take all necessary actions to do our part in limiting the spread of the Coronavirus.
This decision also includes suspension of, or the ongoing suspension of, our school and holiday programmes and camps.
While the situation remains somewhat fluid, we are already developing scenarios for how a revised cricket season may look after we can resume operations. These scenarios, of course, will be kept under constant review and we will update clubs as soon as we have more clarity on a likely start date.
As you would expect, our offices will continue to remain closed during this time with staff working from home whilst all meetings (including committees) will be fulfilled by video/teleconferences.
Club support
Cricket Ireland and the Provincial Unions have also been liaising with sporting and government bodies on what funding and support opportunities are, or will be, available to clubs. In the coming week we will communicate further details about relevant programmes and initiatives that may be relevant to your club, and we will keep you as informed as possible about the evolving nature of these as they are announced.We are currently reviewing the Rates Relief and Small Business Grants in particular, and once eligibility is confirmed we will update clubs.
Angela Platt
General Manager

Stuart Catterson

Cregagh CC

25th Mar 2020

At this time of the year all clubs are usually in the middle of their pre-season ground preparations. The square in particular takes up many hours via rolling etc. Outfields often need contractors brought in for rolling, sanding etc. Teams of volunteers are mobilised to get covers, screens, score huts etc out of hibernation.
Also as all groundsmen know you need the square rolled by end April/early May otherwise it gets too firm.
I am interested to know how clubs (particularly those with volunteer ground staff) are planning to manage all these activities against the current government directive about non-essential travel, non essential activities and no groups of more than 2 people. In addition all club treasurers are keeping what cash they have to cover essential bills and wages with little available for grounds or general cricket expenditure.
As the NCU deliberate about what type of season (if any) can be salvaged they also need to factor the above into their discussions.

Abert Ward

Working from home

24th Mar 2020

In an effort to lift the boredom how about all the NCU clubs picking their best team of all time ?
Most importantly follow the government guidelines and stay safe .


Interesting for certain. Might be best to deal with the post-2000 era as not a lot of people cannot compare with the early days. For example, Osacar Andrews might be included in best team of all time, but nobody knows him or his records. The timing may be a challenge, but after all it is fantasy. Different eras could be included say post-war era etc. Any comments folks?

Simon Burrowes


24th Mar 2020

So very sorry to hear the news about Iain. Condolence to his kith and kin and, of course, the Woodvale family. He was a thoroughly decent guy.

Clarence Hiles

UC Headquarters

23rd Mar 2020

Iain Warke
It is with great sadness that cricket lovers throughout the Province have heard of the sad passing of Iain Warke, a stalwart at Woodvale Cricket Club. We knew for some time that he was ill, but he bore his illness with great courage. A former Captain at the club, he inherited a rich pedigree from his father Larry, the former Ireland all-rounder, and of course from his brother Stephen, the former Ireland Captain, who brought further distinction worldwide. Iain mixed cricket and rugby and often said combining both was challenging when in conflict. He was a popular man at Woodvale and a great friend of the Northern Cricket Union through his sponsorship from Gardiner Bros, aided by his son Michael.
The Warke name is synonymous with Woodvale Cricket Club, but the passing of Iain is a sad blow for everyone.
Our sincere condolences to the family.
Rest in Peace, Iain.