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Great to see you back on the site and as feisty as ever!
However, I find your anti payment crusade is full of inconsistencies. You criticise clubs for paying players and yet Charlie is "value for money." Can you have it both ways? Also Charlie didn't miss out on too much in his career as he seems to have won every honour around. Still doing it too, so I don't think Laurelvale will back your argument.
As for Michael Reith's appointment we certainly disagree but don't dramatize the relegation in 1998 as the club folding as that's just as ridiculous as saying Lurgan are about to fold. Look at Reith's appointment with the benefit of hindsight and place it in the context of 27 years of North Down CC from 1980 to 2007 and you'll understand if not agree with our vision. It was a huge turning point in the club's history. On the comparison with soccer there is no comparison. Same as rugby as they are professional sports with gate money and high overheads. Some clubs are successful and some are struggling. The best run cricket clubs can accommodate paid players and also invest in their youth and resources but not every one does. It requires vision, plus good business and management skills, not from exceptional people necessarily, but people that love their club and their sport and want the best for both in that order! Yes, they may be insular but it's no accident that they are always successful.
Staffy, Nothing wrong with you having your opinion and holding it but does it have to be thrown up time and time again? Can't you move on? Write about something else you are getting boring. You won't change anyone's mind so you can forget about that. Club cricket is a selfish world and clubs make their own decisions without seeking any outside advice.
Also you want your cake and eat it! If you are loyal to your argument then stop patronising Charlie McCrum as he's the type of person you are critising all the time. As for exceptional players and exceptional people get real you are talking about local cricket not international politics!
Regarding paid players. You might call it stirring the pot but this is an issue I think that has the potential to destroy local cricket. Let me say first and foremost I do not have any problems with any of the players who are being paid. Like any professional cricketer they see themselves as people who being rewarded for their talents. Charlie McCrum is a cricketer who has never done anything else but give 'value for money'. I have the utmost respect for him. I just happen to think it is a shame that he spent so many years out of the top flight because of financial reasons that he hasn't received the recognition he deserves. Clubs that offer players money will benefit in the short term. But we have enough evidence admittedly anecdotal, in the North West to see that this in the long term is detrimental to the game. This is an issue that I fundamentally disagree with Clarence Hiles. In the recruitment of Michael Reith he saw the North Down club as visionaries and anyone who felt uncomfortable with it lacked their foresight. Yet it appears to me that the payment of players almost destroyed the club in the late 90's. Cricket in Ireland is unsustainable at club level on a professional basis. For goodness sake soccer is unsustainable in Ireland on a professional basis. Far too many very average cricketers are being paid to play. Vital resources that could be used to develop young cricketers.
Michael, you are right. I may not be able to change it but if I can make club chairmen reflect sufficiently they may only make an exception in exceptional circumstances ie they only pay people who are not only exceptional cricketers but exceptional people.
Why does Alastair Bushe pick the NCU team of the year? Does this mean any sponsor can put up a prize and it becomes official? I haven't seen many compaints about the selections but surely it would be more authorative and meaningful if the selection process involved other cricket correspondents.
Brendan, have to agree on your Belfast comment but taking top teams up to the North West doesn't make financial sense. your grounds aren't up to scratch and everytime somebody says that you all get annoyed. The NCU aren't interested because they play matches on the same day as internationals so come to Clontarf and enjoy yourself. Bring the wife and the kids and stay a few days. Lovely place.
How can anyone expect cricket followers in the North West to support Irish cricket when they don't get any of the top games?
What's the point in staging games in Belfast when nobody goes to watch?
We have great supporters and if you saw the TV coverage in the West Indies at the World Cup you'd have seen more people from the North West than Belfast and Dublin combined!
Just read some of the nonsense being thrown about on Civil Service North about hosting internationals. What peole like Paddy O'Hara need to realize is that hosting any representative game is hard work for the members with no thanks. The ICU doesn't spend money on grounds or promoting cricket as they want everything for nothing. As for hosting matches in the North West get real, their website promoters can't even spell!
Give the matches to Clontarf and save yourself the hassle!
Good article on Charlie McCrum. Still a great player and still as competitive as ever. He could play for any of the section one teams except Waringstown as they never gave him a chance when he was there before.
All this fuss about paid players and people like Staffy stirring the pot will come to nothing as it has been around for years and will be around for years to come. Live with it Staffy and concentrate on things that you can change!
Thankyou very much for your kind and honest comments on my cricket career. You could be a very good sport psychologist.
However, playing at Glendermott and North Down were just as much highlights of the season as scoring centuries. What was even more enjoyable was playing at Laurelvale with people like Wayne, Bruce, Noel and Paul whom I had mostly competed against in the past. To me that's a success story of Ulster Cricket.
Well done the Leinster umpires.
The white stick trophy heads south again, but what a brilliant day out at Saintfield.
Just read the email team and got a good laugh but a bit disappointed there's no room for a Dubliner!
Well done NDCC Under 13 XI.
A great credit to northern cricket and maybe the tide will turn when these youngsters come through.
Also congrats to the Leinster Umpires.
I couldn't make either game as I had the flu.
With most of the cricket over and the highlight of the season looming (NCU AGM) are any of the website experts going to stand for office? Seems to me they are the answer to the NCU woes and I can't beleive they aren't close enough to the action to get nominated.
Come on guys get behind the wheel and not in front of it!
We haven't met but I was at the Rush game last year so I feel I know you a little. I didn't castigate North Down earlier in the season, you guys did it yourselves as Phoenix isn't the best team in Dublin yet you made so many excuses after getting beaten. Despite being also-rans in the Irish Senior Cup for some time I accept you are still the best team in the NCU so please come to the table as we want better competition. I'm up fpr a pint with you as it's only a game.
So are there signs for Saintfield from Newry?
to paul hatton saintfield is 8 miles from comber where north down play their cricket. i distinctly remember you castigating our team earlier in the season. half a dozen of us are looking forward to having a pint or 2 with you on saturday. the late news is that i have been brought in to umpire the match can i have a bet on john andrews and mick dwyer not scoring 10 between them for the southern team.