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Staffy while I don't disagree with that do you not get a feeling that the Irish team is drifting away from the ordinary club player.If the ICU (Limited) could levy each club (and ultimately club members) say £10, £20, £30 whatever per team place (ie 4 teams = 44 team places) what uproar would there be or would all club committees vote for the good of the national team. I don't think so somehow. We are a minority sport trying to play with the big boys and just can't offer a serious marketing investment for most companies. A lot of the money that is apparently available to NCU players seems to come from secret funds. I can't think of any company actually sponsoring a local player (or overseas for that matter) and getting recognition for it in the past ten years. So Warren Duetrom doesn't have an easy job in raising money for cricket in Ireland. I just wonder what the finances of some of the county sides would look like without the share of the tv money they get each year. What changes for the better do we expect from the new corporate set up of the ICU?.
Wouldn't it be a great start to try and secure some funding for the Ireland International team for starters. The players put in way more committment than ordinary club players and increasingly are required in the off season. We can worry about club players after that.
While it is important to listen to what someone with the standing in the game that Simon has to say things really are moving at pace in all walks of life. In business if you got a new idea up and running it normally took a couple of years for people to realise what was happening and start to compete. Now you are lucky to get two months. As we plan for the future of our game have we stopped to think what the sports/cricket clubs of the future will be like. I personally think that within 10 years they will be run as businesses with paid administrators, groundstaff, coaches etc. I really think in our "time poor society" the days of the volunteer is on the way out. No more willing horses for us to flog. People will just turn up train, play, maybe even socialize (dining etc) and then head home. This "vision of the future" isn't how I personally would like to see it go but the pace of change is upon us. Maybe it's better to change than "be changed".
Interesting article on Ulster league. Personally I thnk this is the way forward. There is a huge gulf between club cricket and the international scene. The introduction of an Ulster league woud certainly mean that the top club players would be playing a higher standard of cricket each week. It also does mean that the clubs that can afford to pay players will compete at the higher level. I dont think you can stop the payment of players but it could be controlled by the introduction of a "transfer window", say March each year. This would avoid the constant runour mill concerning the movement of players.
I assume there would still be promotion and relegation so I dont see how an ambitious club from the lower leagues would be prevented from making progress.
My own preference would be for a two division Ulster league and with lower leagues then split on the regional NCU/NW basis.
I also like the concept of an All Ireland league, although I do appreciate this introduces the problem of lengthy travel and associated cost.
I am well aware that things are not as they once were, but " this is 2008 " does not mean that it is right. My point was and is that clubs generally cannot afford to pay players, and that if the money was spent on facilities, ( which wouldn't emigrate, like players, ) then it would be much better for the game. There was an interesting discussion after the ICU agm yesterday, centred on the subject of pros. It was argued that they have improved our standards by their presence. My view is that it is not the pros, but the facilities that have done so. The wickets we play on now are far better than they were, mainly due to covers. The effect has been to improve batsmen by leaps and bounds. However, with a maximum of only 10 overs to bowl, young bowlers simply do not get the chance to learn their trade with the result that we do not produce any. Should you want to shout, "what about Boyd Rankin ?", my answer would be that he is 6'7" tall. On good wickets, he will get bounce, and wickets. On the slow muddy pitches of old, he would have gone back to farming.
However, I digress and repeat - if players move around, the future of clubs will be in jeapordy. If you look at clubs today, their alicadoos are guys who spent their playing days at that club. Without them, there won't be any money raisers, so nobody will get paid.
The success of the Irish team which we all now enjoy is due to a lot of hard work over the last 20 or 30 years in setting up under-age progression, not due to hired guns brought in to achieve results. In my view there is no reason to believe club cricket is any different.
Semi Professional.Player contracts.Ulster League.Changing World.Is the momentum carrying in this direction ?.Why not a few like minded enthusiasts getting together and formulating a way this could be done while fitting in to the masses.Then go to the Unions with a proposal.At least an independent group would have more scope to "think outside the box ".This semi pro league could be the stepping stone to the Irish team.
First time on your site. You need more postings and you'll get them if you continue with these interesting articles. I liked Simon Corlett's comments but money talks. I'm a traditionalist too and fear a breakaway league of purely amateur cricketers might be coming if this is not controlled. They have it in local football and it works. Also if the top 4-6 teams were in an Ulster League wouldn't this achieve the same result? They'd be playing their semi-professional cricket and the rest of the clubs would be getting on enjoying their sport.
Simon things have changed since your day and some clubs are going to make a big impact while others drop back. Look at your own club in the last 20 years. Going, going, gone. Now they have re-invented themselves and CSN will be a stronger club. CI and CSN have taken the place of the old NICC and Woodvale and very soon they'll take over the place of North Down and Waringstown, The world has changed and if you can't beat them join them. This is 2008.
Simon if you were at your peak you'd be offered 10K for certain. Most of what you say is right but you don't expect the clubs to agree do you? Egos or ambition either way they want success and some have the means to buy it. North Down won't get much sympathy because they were involved in it too in the 90s. I think Clarence is right with player contracts because it will bring some order to all this tapping. We're now as bad as the hillbillies in the North West.
Proudly playing for North Down until 2003 after our successes in 2000 i predicted that North Down would dominate NCU for at least the next decade.
At the close of 2007 they are an even better side than the one of 2000. Only Bangor 2004, Waringstown and Instonians have attempted to compete with them. The question is how do other clubs close the gap.
But it seems a new masterplan has been unveiled - throw crazy money at the best 6 players on the team.
2008 I still expect them to be the top side, masterplan or not.
Clarence, I've just read your artcle on payment of players, and I have to say my eyebrows are slightly higher than usual. The points you argue are exactly those used by many of us a long time ago against the whole idea of "professionals". It would appear that you now agree with our original view.
Cricket is a team game, and playing musical chairs is a selfish pastime. These guys will end up with no club to retire to, and will be lost to the game. There are few enough members doing most of the work in clubs, and we cannot afford to lose them. You have only to look at the state of club rugby in Ulster to realise that going down the "pay the players " route is a complete disaster, with clubs not only heading for bankruptcy , but also losing any semblance of loyalty from the players.
Hired guns may achieve short term gains, but real success is a long term thing.
One final observation : big spenders tend to be a few big ego trippers. Are they really wanting success for the club, or for themselves ?
We need to have names with posts please so if you have made one and it is not on, thats why.
I read with a lot of interest regards player movement in the NCU this winter and in particular at North Down.
I believe from rumour and some fact that the following N.Down players have all been approached for their services;
David Kennedy,gone home to ballymena.
Marty Dalzell, gone to glendermott.
Ryan Haire and Ralph Coetzee made serious offers to go to CI but neither have yet made their minds up due to the serious offers in place?
Peter Connell approached by a NW club,with a good offer and has also not made up his mind?
Neil Russell was made a very good offer from the NW but it seems he is the only player at this stage to show "loyalty" to his club and hence renaged on the offer? Fair play to him indeed if this is the case.
Seems with success these days there will be a lot of clubs now willing to open the chequebook. North Down have been the premier team for near on a decade now in the NCU and whilst i find it shocking the supposed money being offered around it comes as little surprise that other clubs have targeted a serious number of the ND players.
I also hear a couple of the Waringstown youngsters have also been approached?
It will certainly been interesting to see who is with who come mid-april.
Hi Taito. Ok so they have a new clubhouse which is shared and you know what that means. Anyway it's their money that's playing best right now. You asked for names so what about Coetzee and Ryan Haire for starters? North Down offered five grand if they took Da Haire but they declined! Just joking Robin. I don't want a kicking next time I'm in Comber. Seems like the CI and Glendermott hitmen did their homework and discovered North Down aren't a bad team.
i think that is a harsh statement about belmont, CI have put a lot of work in recently on relaying the sqaure and have a wonderful new clubhouse which would rival most in the country. I would say there are many many worse places to play , i wont name them because i wouldnt want to offend anyone. I am intrigued about the rumours of player movements, any names??