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A few weeks ago Neil Fullerton posted about the provision of teas at cricket games. I can report that "teas" are still alive and well in the North West. Highest standards at Ballyspallen yesterday with a team of ladies providing for not only the teams and umpires but for spectators. Conversations round the table were somewhat critical about the teas provided by a leading East Belfast club recently to a 2nd XI from the NW. And first-class umpire accommodation at a "wee club". Puts some NCU clubs to shame. But then again I have posted on this before and we're still being asked to change in storerooms, toilets etc. A "new age" for Irish cricket, Test status, etc.!! I wonder if I will live long enough to see the benefits?
Cricket Ireland Head Coach
You must have some sympathy for the Head Coach John Bracewell, who appears to have been axed. Yes, recent performances have been poor, but surely the responsibility should be shared? The players certainly haven't performed and perhaps Bracewell could be criticised for player loyalty in an aging team. And what about guru Richard Holdsworth, the highly-paid High Performance Director? Do the players and Holdsworth share any blame?
Thanks John for your services in trying circumstances. It was a tough act to follow in the wake of Adi Birrell and Phil Simmons, but I fear the new appointment will suffer the same path unless there is a clear out of personnel, playing and administrative.
Great article in today's Belfast Telegraph of our unpaid groundsman for 55 years Tommy Curlett and Jeff Maguire on raising money for the club for new covers during his 60th birthday charity match 2 stalwarts of Dundrum Cricket Club wouldn't it be great to see the NCU acknowlege their achievements.I don't know of anyone doing groundsman as long as Tommy or as dedicated and Jeff does great work in promoting our club.It would be interesting to hear the thoughts of the officials in the NCU.
sounds great at Carrick next Friday Ally will def. try and be there, think it's what we need to promote the game . hope you get a wonderful turnout.
Is it just me or does anyone else get irked by the inane commentary on the T/20 Blast? Thursday evening with Robert Key and that dopey bird going on about tattoos! Might have to watch it with the sound off - bit like international rugby when Brian Moore is giving us the benefit of his opinions/prejudices!
Just wanted to flag up next Friday’s T20 Interprovincial Match between the Knights and the Munster Reds.
This is the first time that the Munster squad have played an Interpro T20 in the Union and we would like to show them what NCU cricket is all about both on and off the pitch.
To that extent the host club Carrickfergus are putting together their usual mix of T20 events for people to come down and have a really entertaining night at the cricket.
I will be on PA / music duties so if you are make it along let me know and I’ll try to give your club a shout out (this also goes for anyone travelling up from Munster). We will have a terrific BBQ on the go, competitions for all and plenty of offers from our T20 sponsor on the night. Indeed in the next few days clubs around the NCU may well receive a ticket inviting club members to come down to the game and each ticket will have a buy one get one free beer token.
Free entry into the ground and the club are planning for one of the biggest nights of cricket in the NCU. So if you haven’t been lucky enough to have been to a T20 game at Middle Road, Carrick, get something organised, bring the cricket/non-cricket mates and why not make this the night.
Game starts at 5 but plenty going on pre, during and after!
For more information check out any of following
Very disappointing series from NCU U17 team who won the competition convincingly last year against full strength opposition but failed to compete against a Leinster B team this year - missing 5 of their leading players due to Ireland U 19 commitments !
From an outsider looking in it is hard to fathom how players who have performed well at senior level are overlooked or given minor roles in the team ! Far too much favouritism given to players from big clubs who are obviously just not good enough ! Are the coaches under pressure to pick these boys because if they are we are all wasting our time trying to produce cricketers who are capable of playing first class cricket !
Massive congratulations to the star performer from NCU - Jack Carson - delighted he has been given the opportunity at Sussex to pursue his dreams of becoming a first class cricketer- hope all goes well !
Thank you for the apology. I look forward to the return fixture at your place
Ed don't worry I've known Ronnie for a long time!
Great. I love a happy ending.
Re Chris Gilmore. Hi Chris, don't need to read any paragraphs on your post as i would like to unreservedly apologise for the wording of my comments. I meant no disrespect to the 9 players who originally turned out to play us and certainly non to Ally Grahame who told me personally that he turned up to watch, not feeling well (hope he is feeling better) then took the field to help out.
I look forward to returning the favour of the LEMONADE you got me (Jameson get me in trouble) and hope you can accept that i meant no insult to your players and your club, who i have had a cordial relationship for some time. as sincerely as i can say it ,sorry mate
All friends now Chris? Ronnie's a good guy in cricket.
Benediximus: Latin for good luck, though not so sure now?
And that previous post should read, ' live cricket on terrestrial television,' sometimes my exuberance can be my foil but I'll live it!
bonum vesperam ( goodnight)
I think Ronnie's sentiments didn't quite come across as he intended them too.
Everyone knows there is problem in the lower leagues, from shortage of players to disappearing grounds and volunteers, it isn't easy to discuss a solution to this in a minefield of possibly offending people with remarks and simple facts. There is a big load of denial from clubs and it's been getting bigger for quite some time.
It must be time now to address jnr 6,7,8..
What about a five team minor league fed by a couple of localised development leagues?
The minor winners can play off the jnr 5 last place, and the ncu development staff can keep an eye on the development leagues to see if any teams want to or are capable of playing in the minor league.
Of course the initial move will have to be made by the clubs, and probably here lies the problem. It's difficult sometimes to say with honesty just what you are actually seeing.
Did 25 Downpatrick cricketers simply give up playing cricket? I know that Chris at Dungannon is down over a dozen players in just a couple of years. Portadown lost 8 in a week in 2013
If clubs want to play cricket they need to attract players. Clearly the current model of cricket played is not fit for purpose as it seems to repel cricketers rather than attract them.
Continuing on from the decline of cricket in South Down, we at Drumaness know only too well about this with the club folding for the 2016 season.
But on a more positive note, we've come back this year and despite a couple of key players not returning, we've been getting good numbers at practice and for the first time in years our skipper had to drop 2 players on Saturday!
In a bid to raise more playing interest, we also recently held our 6 a side fun day where teams from the local soccer and GAA clubs battled it out for local bragging rights. These fellas thoroughly enjoyed the 10 over games but are still a long way from committing to 40 or 50 over matches on a Saturday. They are however keen on a 20/20 friendly against an NCU team at Drumaness. Any junior 7-8 or mid-week league teams interested for some Sunday in August let us know. We can guarantee a good crowd, a BBQ (weather permitting) and live commentary and music. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Good thinking Darren.
Ronnie, to say I'm disappointed that you felt the need to "rant" about my club is an understatement. Calling myself and my 9 team mates pathetic (that's right we had 10 until one went home ill after the 1st innings) is an insult I wouldn't expect from you, and to think I got you a drink between innings. I won't be doing that again maybe the quality of the Jamesons contributed to this post!
You may also remember that your 2nd XI contained a few "senior" players and we were well and truly in the game until your leg spinner took us apart. You even mentioned an old friend of mine was nearly having to come out of retirement in his mid/late 60s as your 3rds could only get 8 players for their game. The quality of leg spin on display was something you'd expect in the Premier League. I see the same player took wickets for your 1sts the following day, can't see him being back in the 2nds for a while!
Your statement about having used 2 pitches all season is incorrect, maybe some of our players gave you "fake news". Anyone who has played at Downpatrick will know how good our pitches can be thanks to the dedication of our groundsman who is world class in his trade. Unfortunately he has been unavailable this season and we now rely on volunteers and amateur groundsmen to prepare wickets, not easy to master in a few weeks. Saturdays wicket wasn't ideal, I doubt it would have made any difference to the outcome if we'd played at Lords though
Cricket in South Down is a minority sport which (in my opinion) is in decline. As a club we are doing everything we can to maintain the tradition of our sport in the area for the local community. How many clubs would fulfil a fixture with 7 men at North Down or 8 at Donemana? Most would take the easy way out and not turn up, who gets anything out of that? We have a flourishing youth set up which is producing some quality for the future, like many clubs we just need to get through a tough time and return to our successes of the not so distant past. Last season our 1sts were on the verge of winning section 1 and made 2 cup finals, season before that our 2nds won the intermediate cup. I won't go on as I'm starting to sound like a Liverpool fan talking about past glories.
For anyone who wants to discuss cricket in the Downpatrick area or in general my email address is available, my phone number can be too. I'm not a fan of rants on public forums
Ronnie- before responding maybe read the 2nd paragraph here: http://www.northerncricketunion.org/database/2017/news/articles/article939.shtml
Can feel the anguish in your post Ronnie, the optimist in me would say these things are cyclical, such is the way of modern trends and fashions, while some decline, troughs and peaks if you like, others are more in vogue and prospering?
A few of my own personal views come to mind though, some we can encourage, others, well, perhaps out of our power...
Losing live televised, terrestrial cricket some years ago was a telling blow to our local domestic game. I grew up watching my heros, live Joel Garner, Ian Botham, Bob Willis, Viv Richards, the 1981 Ashes etc on BBC and of course, as a perceptive teenager, I wanted to be all those guys rolled into one. point being, not all youngsters have ready access to satellite television, mostly not all, I'd readily purport?
Secondly, while the advent of test cricket for Ireland must be welcomed and should in theory, be good for the game. If the authorities are going to laud it up at the top dinning table with England, India, Australia etc at the 'expense' of our grassroots game, then the whole thing will fall into disarray, become a farce and once more, it will be 'us' who suffer, the foundation that every successful and competitive national side are built upon!
I also note with some concern, the last time I looked on the Ireland cricket website, there were coaches, assistant coaches, deputy assistant coaches to help assist the assistant, assistant coaches, directors, deputy directors, executive directors, commercial directors, performance directors, marketing managers, operations manager, assistant operations managers, tea ladies and standby tea ladies in case the former rings in sick or needs a hand and the list just goes on & on!
And this was even before Ireland were awarded Test status....Really? Reminds me of the NHS, try waiting for a hip op. Not that I need one ( yet) but pity those that do!
Too many chiefs spring to mind, how many of them are down at the nets, three or four times a week, id love to know? Not counting cheering on their team on a Saturday afternoon?
Finally on a more positive note, lovely game against Newforge 2nds on Saturday, yes we got we'll beat but that's irrelevant. These guys of Asian persuasion I think, love and are passionate about cricket, and not only do they form their own sides here but just look how many are involved with local clubs throughout the land, I take my hat off to them and long may they stay, raise their families and continue to popularise our game, after all, could we survive without them?
Caleb, what does this mean?
Ronnie, sad to hear about Downpatrick, but you can't blame Cricket Ireland losing the 25 players. They should be asking themselves and see what's happening. There's a lot of activity in Dundrum just a few miles down the road.
Interesting test status. I assume the big bucks will filter into grassroots? Or maybe perhaps not?