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Brian O'Hara

Bangor

19th Mar 2021

Lockdown easing in Northern Ireland and we’re heading for a earlier start to the season than in Leinster and Munster, maybe?
Just a little concerned to read this from Cricket Ireland a couple of days ago, ‘ We will update clubs shortly on how they can start preparing for a Return to Cricket in both NI and ROI.’
Are we really going to wait for them to tell us when we up here can get back out on the pitch?
It’s surely obvious that there will be two different speeds of Return to Cricket, holding back so that someone else can catch up will not be acceptable.

Response

Ed..
I'm sure CI are aware of the differences.
When the NI Govt gives the OK, I'm certain NI will play, subject to Protocol!
JCH

Craig Easdown, Cricket Ireland

Dublin

19th Mar 2021

BELFAST – Ireland Men’s stalwart Gary Wilson has today announced his retirement from professional cricket, bringing to a close a 16-year international career and a successful first-class career that spanned English county and Irish inter-provincial cricket. He will take up the new full-time role as Head Coach and Pathway Manager for North West Warriors.
Holywood-born Wilson, 35, made his international debut for Ireland in June 2005 against the MCC and appeared 292 times for the senior side – the third most capped Irish international in history.
He finishes Ireland’s second highest wicket-keeper in terms of dismissals behind the stumps with 160 catches and 33 stumpings. In addition, given his career overlapped with Niall O’Brien, Wilson was also an excellent outfielder, taking 60 catches.
A very accomplished middle-order batter, Wilson registered 5,959 runs for Ireland, hitting one century and 30 fifties – his highest score being 113 v Netherlands in 2010.
He featured in the Irish squad at two Cricket World Cup finals (2011, 2015) and five T20 World Cup finals (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016).
His honours in international colours included:
ICC Trophy winners (2008)
World Cup qualifying tournament winners (2013)
World T20 qualifying tournament winners (2008, 2012, 2013)
ICC InterContinental Cup winners (2007, 2008, 2013)
In 2018, Wilson was given the honour of captaining the Ireland Men’s T20 squad, and oversaw the side’s qualification for the ICC T20 World Cup 2020 (which was subsequently rescheduled to 2021).

Response

EDS...
Well done Gary. Terrific service in a glittering career.
Good luck with the Warriors.
JCH
JK

C Boomer

Dromore ( Co Down )

17th Mar 2021

Re NCU strategy - Soil Sampling ..
In these unprecedented times we all find ourselves enduring, sport has been just one of many social casualties hit hard during the past 13 months of lockdown, social distance rules, mercifully though, we seem to be over the worst and life/society in general is gradually heading back to some degree of 'normality. '
That being said, bearing in mind cricket at local level even before all this craziness was thrust upon us, had already been under the pump and was in not in a state of rude health, I quote the Downpatrick downscale for example, so with this in mind, why are the NCU in all their wisdom concentrating or even worrying themselves about the condition of the soil around all the various clubs?
Trust me gentlemen, I can assure you of one thing, this little province of ours maybe behind everyone else when it comes to economics, NHS, infrastructure, political expediency etc. etc, but one fact I can state without fear of contradiction, when it comes to grass-growth and its quality, we are at the very pinnacle in world wide terms so unless I've missed something whilst lying low this last year, and we're developing some new brand of genetically engineered rye/grass, may I respectfully suggest rather than waste valuable time & money sending Professor Pikes around club grounds taking biopsies of soil for scientific analysis, such resources and acumen be put to better use, like working out just how we are gonna repair the loss of young player interest/participation in the local game before like lemmings, cricket and all who love it, finally go over the precipice, never to be seen or heard of again!!!
Just as E = MC 2 Sunlight + H2O = Grass-growth
(and when it gets too long, cut it, repeat as & when)

Andy Kennedy

showery Buckna

13th Mar 2021

Interesting to see on the “other” site that Barry Chambers on “The View” has commented on the digging up of the pitches at Abbotstown. Questions must be asked about how this situation arose and what is the time-scale for when the relayed pitches will be playable?

Ronnie McAlpine

boredsville

12th Mar 2021

Techfynder Cricket Official of the Year
Winner: Ian Houston.
There's never been a more deserving recipient of an award.
Ian is an absolute gentleman and has worked tirelessly appointing officials, seemingly for ever.
well done Mr Houston.
Lets see more of you at Woodvale CC this coming season.
(it must nearly be your round by now!!!)

Response

Ed...
Hear, hear! Ian thoroughly deserved it.

Andy Kennedy

reading press releases in Buckna!

10th Mar 2021

Further to the earlier posting I would refer to the NCU site where Poots refers to “unnecessary concern” - this is different to the information issued about a week ago from his PlantHealth Inspection Branch, Dundonald House that started the concern. He wasn’t long in whistling up to Wallace Park to get his picture taken with Dean & Uel - a picture that resembles the one in the Newsletter. Well done to John Stewart of Carrick for highlighting this.

Andy Kennedy

Buckna

10th Mar 2021

Looks like the Agriculture department has changed its mind! Amazing how this disfunctional coalition Executive can spin things to contradict previous instructions!!!

C Boomer

Dromore ( Co Down )

10th Mar 2021

Don't panic Andy, sure haven't you heard of the new Borris burrow or Borris bridge, a direct link from here to Scotland and then you can drive down to Surrey, collect your soil and drive home again ...
How does that song go? ' The green, green grass of home' eh!!

Response

Ed...
Good idea Caleb!

Andy Kennedy

Buckna

10th Mar 2021

I see the Newsletter is carrying the story about the soil! Remember where you read it first!!

Response

Ed...
The Ballymena Bugle? LOL

Andy Kennedy

Buckna

4th Mar 2021

I understand that it’s to do with this “border down the Irish Sea” protocol. I don’t understand it all but there was a statement issued by one of the agriculture departments at Dundonald House that explained(?) the matter. To be frank I’ve given up listening to any news because it was frying my head.

Response

Ed...
You're normally in the know Andy!

Andy Kennedy

Buckna!

4th Mar 2021

English soil aka Surrey Loam not permitted to be imported into Northern Ireland according to Dept of Agriculture! This just gets more & more of a farce!!

Response

Ed...
Andy, What is the reason?

Craig Easdown Cricket Ireland

Dublin

27th Feb 2021

DUBLIN – Paul Stirling and Kim Garth were announced the men’s and women’s International Player of the Decade respectively amongst the 14 categories of awards handed out at the ITW Irish Cricket Awards 2021.
The event was broadcast via Youtube and was hosted by sports journalist and broadcaster Marie Crowe, supported by RTE’s John Kenny and former Ireland Men’s captain Kyle McCallan. Viewers were treated with interviews with each winner, and a heartfelt tribute to the late Roy Torrens, which featured contributions from former Irish coaches Adi Birrell and Phil Simmons.
Each winner will receive an engraved award designed to the iconic Irish brand, Waterford – an organisation that is proudly extending its generational links with cricket
THE WINNERS
ITW International Player of the Decade – Men
Winner: Paul Stirling
Shortlist: Ed Joyce, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O’Brien, William Porterfield, Paul Stirling
Quote from judging panel: “Paul’s consistency over the decade, improving year by year, was world-class. He has an amazing natural talent with power and match winning qualities. Opening the batting against top quality bowling attacks, he has an outstanding strike rate which gives the team the best chance of being successful against the top nations.”
Hanley Energy International Player of the Decade – Women
Winner: Kim Garth
Shortlist: Laura Delany, Kim Garth, Cecelia Joyce, Isobel Joyce, Clare Shillington
Quote from judging panel: “Kim debuted at 14 years of age, and finished the decade with the highest batting average by an Irish player in T20Is, and the best bowling average over the past decade in ODIs for Ireland Women. With the ball, she’s not only a wicket-taker, but economical too. She was named as the standout player in the Irish team by the International Cricket Council at the T20 World Cup in 2018, was one of the 6 players awarded a professional contract in 2019, and finished that year as the leading run-scorer for Ireland in the T20 World Cup Qualifier. She has also extensive WBBL experience with two winners medals with Sydney Sixers.”
ITW International Men’s Player of the Year
Winner: Paul Stirling
Runners-up: Andrew Balbirnie, Craig Young
Process: This was a peer-nominated award, with players all awarding 3-2-1 rankings to their teammates after each game. Of the total ranking votes available: Paul Stirling received 42%, Andrew Balbirnie 20% and Craig Young 14% – making them the three highest-ranked players in 2020.
Test Triangle Inter-Provincial Player of the Year
Winner: Simi Singh
Quote from judging panel: “Simi had an excellent season at inter-provincial level, showing his significant all-round value. In the IP50 competition Simi scored 104 runs at a strike rate of 104, and took 10 wickets, topping the averages at 13.70 per wicket. He took a wicket every 20 balls and had an economy rate of just over 4 runs per over. In the IP20 competition, Simi was never dismissed and scored 64 runs at a strike rate of 108.47, while also being leading wicket taker in the competition with 8 wickets at an average of 6.62 per wicket. He took a wicket every 9.75 balls and had an economy rate of just over 4 runs per over.”
Arachas Super Series Player of the Year
Winner: Laura Delany
Quote from judging panel: “Laura had an excellent season at Super Series level captaining the Typhoons to their first-ever title win. She was the highest ranked Typhoons batter, scoring 219 runs at an average of 43.80 with a strike rate of 74.2 and 2 half centuries; and claimed 7 wickets at an average of 22.29 with an economy of 3.39 - consistently taking wickets at crucial times, whilst being extremely economical.”
Tildenet Club of the Year
Winner: Limerick Cricket Club
Shortlist: Limerick Cricket Club, Newbuildings Cricket Club, North Down Cricket Club, YMCA Cricket Club
Quote from judging panel: “In 2020, Limerick cleaned up titles and saw significant membership growth – now having a vibrant youth section. They continued to develop their new home ground in Adare and 2021 will see excellent new clubhouse opened. In a significant advance for the club and cricket in Limerick generally, the club has entered into partnership with Limerick City Council on the development of a city centre venue which will provide training facilities for both youth and adult players and a venue for youth games.”
O’Neill’s Club Male Player of the Year
Winner: John Anderson
Shortlist: John Anderson, Chris Dougherty, Gareth McKeegan, Swaroop Burra
Quote from judging panel: “John had an excellent season. He played in all six matches of the Merrion campaign, scoring 364 runs over 6 innings, with one not out. His average of 72.8 was twenty runs higher than the next challenger. He passed the half-century mark on no fewer than four occasions, with his highest score of 81 coming against North Kildare at The Maws. His other two scores were 49 and 23. Looking down the list, John’s season is even more remarkable when it’s considered that the next man, in terms of aggregate runs, Kenny Carroll, took 9 games to reach 326 at an average of 40.75.”
O’Neiil’s Club Female Player of the Year
Winner: Alana Dalzell
Shortlist: Alana Dalzell, Charlotte Lyons, Rebecca Stokell
Quote from judging panel: “In a difficult year Alana was a stand-out player within the North West region. She plays her cricket for Bready CC where she is captain of the Women’s team, in 2020 this was a very youthful side, with several of the usual team being unavailable due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Alana also plays regularly for the Bready CC Men’s 3rd XI side, fulfilling a role in the side as one of the seam attack in what is also generally a youthful side. Late in the season she was called into the Bready CC Men’s 1st XI, making her ‘Senior’ debut against Strabane. She returned respectable figures of 0-9 from two overs. Alana also made several appearances during the season at Women’s representative level, both for the NW side against the NCU, but also in the Super Series/”
Cricket Writers of Ireland Hall of Fame
Inductee 1: Caitriona Beggs
Citation: Caitriona played 66 times for Ireland Women from 1995 to 2008. She scored 1,450 runs (at an average 27.88), including nine fifties. She played her first women’s league match aged 8, and was on the Leinster Under-19s squad at age 11. She was a top order batter and played in three World Cups - her 68 against Pakistan is also the highest score by an Irishwoman in Test cricket. Additionally, she was top-scorer against England in 2001, when her 35 helped Ireland to a memorable win in the European Championship. And when the ICC unveiled their ODI world rankings in 2008 she was the only player from an Associate nation to make the top 20.
Inductee 2: Peter Gillespie
Citation: When Peter retired in 2007, he was Ireland’s most capped player – 124 games from 1995 until just after the World Cup in the Caribbean. First picked as a fast bowler, he found his feet as a middle-order batsman. In all he made 2,774 runs at an average of 27.47, but those figures do not reflect some important innings. One such came at the Lawn in 1998, when his 94 drove Ireland to a notable win over Bangladesh. He will be best remembered for his 47-ball century at Bangor in 2005, still the fastest for Ireland despite some challengers in the last decade. In 2007, Adi Birrell described him as the "heartbeat of the team”, but his team-mates knew him only as "PG" or “Polish”.
Inductee 3 (posthumous): Jimmy Boucher
Citation: The first of our posthumous inductees is probably the greatest spin bowler Ireland has produced. First capped as a schoolboy in 1929, he soon became a key member of the Irish side and enjoyed a 25-year international career interrupted only by the Second World War. He won sixty caps for Ireland, and took 307 wickets, averaging 15.26, including 31 five-fors and 10 wickets in a match on 7 occasions. His best bowling, 7-13, was against New Zealand at Rathmines. After retirement he became an Irish selector and served as Hon Secretary of the Irish Cricket Union for more than 20 years..
See previous Hall of Fame inductees
Gibney’s Outstanding Contribution and Service to Irish Cricket
Winner: Roy Torrens
Quote from Robin Walsh: “Roy was an icon, there was no doubt he was one of the greatest figures in Irish cricket – in fact, I could give you an argument why he was the greatest all-round figure in Irish cricket.”
Clear Currency Volunteering Excellence Award
Winner: Michael Hickey
Quote from judging panel: “Michael had a long playing career with Lismore Cricket Club and following retirement he took up umpiring, and became an umpiring instructor. He has served on the Executive and Board of Munster Cricket since 2006, was President of the Union in 2016 and 2017, and acted as secretary for the Union since 2018 - retiring from that role this January. He played a very significant part in the work carried out in recent years to modernise the governance structures of Munster Cricket which culminated in the incorporation of the Union from 1 January 2020.”
Techfynder Cricket Official of the Year
Winner: Ian Houston
Quote from judging panel: “Ian has been the Appointments Secretary for NIACUS for 25 years. He’s appointed for well over 30,000 fixtures during his tenure and has never failed to have a fixture covered. Despite Covid-19, in 2020 Ian kept the show on the road during a very taxing time. Ian also mentors newly qualified officials, passing on his vast experience and advice. Many of today’s top officials owe Ian a huge debt of gratitude in mastering the umpiring arts.”
Shapoorji Pallonji Outstanding Contribution to Coaching
Winner: Brían O’Rourke
Quote from judging panel: “Brían is an Irish coaching legend and has been instrumental in the growth and development of countless inter-provincial and international cricketers over the past 25 years. He has fulfilled a variety of roles since 1995, coaching Ireland teams from Under-15 through to Under-19 level, taking charge of Under-19 World Cup campaigns in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. Brían has also been heavily involved at inter-provincial level, leading Leinster Under 15's at every tournament since 1997 enjoying an unprecedented and unrivalled level of success over that period.”
Turkish Airlines Special Jury Award – Spirit of Cricket Award
Winner: Bready Cricket Club
Shortlist: Bready Cricket Club, Kerry Cricket Club, North Down Cricket Club, Pembroke Cricket Club
Quote from judging panel: “At the start of lockdown, Bready Cricket Club’s General Committee made the decision to proactively support elderly and vulnerable residents in the area who were self-isolating. Initially planned for 1 week, and to cover 60 people, the Club realised a longer term need existed for the popular service. Since then, the team of volunteers - made up mostly of players and members of the club - have been known as the 'Cricketing Cooks'. By the end of this month, they will have provided over 3,000 meals to the elderly & vulnerable in the community. On top of this, players have also been carrying Pharmacy / Grocery deliveries for families who have been housebound. And when lockdown eased during the Summer, the club ran a pilot fitness programme for community residents, which saw up to 60 men & women of all ages take part in a Circuit Training programme.”
JUDGING PANELS
General Award Judging Panel:
Aideen Rice, Ger Siggins, Ian Callender, Peter McCartney, Angela Platt, Philip Smith, Joe Moynihan
Expert Juries – Players of the Decade:
Men’s Award: Peter Gillespie, Alan Lewis, Kyle McCallan, Andrew White
Women’s Award: Carrie Archer, Miriam Grealey, Barbara McDonald, Rob O’Connor

Craig Easdow-PRC Cricket Ireland

Dubin

15th Feb 2021

DUBLIN – The Board of Cricket Ireland has approved 12 fixtures, and the venues they will be played at, as part of the Ireland Men’s home season in 2021.
The 12 white-ball fixtures are to be played across three Irish venues, with Clontarf – Ireland’s fourth international venue – still unavailable in 2021.
Ireland v South Africa series
11 July: Ireland v South Africa, 1st ODI (Malahide)*
13 July: Ireland v South Africa, 2nd ODI (Malahide)*
16 July: Ireland v South Africa, 3rd ODI (Malahide)*
20 July: Ireland v South Africa, 1st T20I (Malahide)
22 July: Ireland v South Africa, 2nd T20I (Stormont)
25 July: Ireland v South Africa, 3rd T20I (Stormont)
Ireland v Zimbabwe series
6 August: Ireland v Zimbabwe, 1st ODI (Stormont)*
8 August: Ireland v Zimbabwe, 2nd ODI (Stormont)*
11 August: Ireland v Zimbabwe, 3rd ODI (Stormont)*
15 August: Ireland v Zimbabwe, 1st T20I (Bready)
17 August: Ireland v Zimbabwe, 2nd T20I (Bready)
20 August: Ireland v Zimbabwe, 3rd T20I (Bready)
* Matches form part of the ICC World Cup Super League
A further two-match T20 International series against Pakistan is still in discussion with the Pakistan Cricket Board and England & Wales Cricket Board, with an announcement to be made in due course.
Cricket Ireland will work with Sport Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland and the Sport Expert Group to ensure all fixtures comply with the COVID-19 protocols in place as the season rolls out.
AWAY SERIES CONFIRMED
Cricket Ireland can also confirm a three-match men’s ODI series against Netherlands will precede the home calenda. The fixtures will also be part of the World Cup Super League
4 June: Netherlands v Ireland, 1st ODI
7 June: Netherlands v Ireland, 2nd ODI
9 June: Netherlands v Ireland, 3rd ODI

Venue and match details will be released shortly.

Craig Easdown PRO Cricket Ireland

Dublin

12th Feb 2021

New men's Inter-Provincial Series structure unveiled, creation of new coaching hubs,
new emerging competition and investment in Munster
Photos to download for editorial use
DUBLIN – Cricket Ireland has today unveiled a new structure for the men’s domestic Inter-Provincial Series, which includes Munster Reds becoming a fourth team in the 50-over Cup competition, creation of new performance coaching hubs, a revised squad selection process and the creation of a new emerging team competition.
The improvements endeavour to create a true best v best system for Irish cricket, which will benefit the international pathway and increase top-level opportunities at this level for a wider pool of players.
The change will also see a future increase in investment in the Munster pathway system to support growth and opportunity for players coming through the province’s youth ranks.
The announcement today outlines five key improvements:
NEW STRUCTURE
The new structure includes the four teams of North West Warriors, Northern Knights, Leinster Lightning and the Munster Reds in both formats competing in the two white-ball competitions as follows:
· Inter-Provincial Cup competition (50-over format): a four-team league comprising a two round-robin series, allowing each team a total of six matches each.
· Inter-Provincial Trophy competition (T20 format): a four-team league comprising a series of three-day festivals.
With regards to the red-ball format, with no summer Test scheduled in 2021, Cricket Ireland has prioritised white ball cricket due to there being three white ball world cups over the next three years, however, will be exploring ways to reintroduce the Inter-Provincial Championship when both the pandemic and consequential financial situation permits.
SELECTION OF SQUADS
The selection process for the four squads will be refined to seek a best v best outcome that will raise the quality and competitiveness of the competition. Under the approved changes, the Chair of National Men’s Selectors and National Head Coach will work closely with the Provincial Union Head Coaches to select a core squad of 12 players for each team. Provincial Unions will then add additional local players as and when they see fit. Match day squads will continue to be selected by local Provincial Unions selectors.
The selectors will adopt a selection policy that, as far as possible, balances the need to strengthen the tournament via best v best against ensuring the strength of Provincial Union identity.
A new player loan system will be put in place for 2021, allowing for teams who have injuries and exceptional circumstances around player availability, to take on loan a player of suitable quality and skill-set which they may not have locally.
INTRODUCTION OF NEW PERFORMANCE COACHING HUBS
New Provincial Union-based Performance Coaching Hubs will be established, which will replace the previous coaching regime that was arranged and led by the national head coach out of the High Performance Centre in Dublin. The new system will see additional Performance Hubs in Belfast and Bready. In the short-term, the Munster performance coaching hub will be based in Dublin (see below).
Following squad selections, the Head Coaches of each team will meet with the National Coaches to design a coaching programme throughout the year, taking into account the International, Ireland Wolves and Inter-Provincial fixtures schedule.
The national coaches will plan their attendance at the Provincial Union’s hub sessions throughout each week to assist and complement the head coaches for each team. This will come as an additional investment by Cricket Ireland, but one seen as critical to ensuring the success of the new model, and similar to the operations in other full member countries.
NEW EMERGING INTER-PROVINCIAL COMPETITION
To complement work being undertaken at the top-level, Cricket Ireland and the Provincial Unions have agreed to create a new tournament that will be played out by all four Provincial Union Emerging teams. The tournament will involve the four province’s emerging teams, and will be managed under the auspices of Cricket Ireland’s National Talent Pathway Manager.
A further announcement about this will be made in coming weeks.
STRATEGIC REFOCUS FOR MUNSTER REDS
While the new structure will see the Munster Reds team increasing their fixtures each year and entering the 50-over competition, there has been a need to take several actions in order to improve the progress of Munster Cricket in developing its own talent pipeline.
The team will continue to be managed by the Munster Cricket Union, however, in the short term the Munster performance coaching hub will be based in Dublin.
Over the next three years, Cricket Ireland and Munster Cricket Union have agreed the strategic need to invest time and resources into youth cricket, talent pathway and the Munster (Heat) Emerging squad, while re-focussing the Munster Reds to meet the wider needs of Irish cricket. In addition, Munster will also focus on developing revenue streams to enable them to invest in local player development and emerging players based in Munster.
The longer-term plan is for the Munster performance coaching hub to return to Munster, and a significant increase in squad player representation of Munster-based players in the Munster Reds senior side.

Clarence Hiles

UC Headquarters

8th Feb 2021

John Law
We are sad to hear John Law has passed away.
A stalwart of many years at North of Ireland Cricket Club and the Union, we knew he was ailing for some time, but it remains a sad time for his son Peter and all the NICC fraternity. He was always a friendly man, but had strong views without any acrimony, as he loved cricket first and foremost. He represented North for many years at NCU Committees. He captained North to league success in 1961 and was retained in 1962. He was also NCU President in 1995-97.
To all the family heartfelt condolences.
Rest in Peace John

JCH
JK