Denis Artt (above) Front Row extreme left in the 1981 Challenge Cup winning team.
It is with great sadness that we record the passing of Denis Artt who gave us many memorable performances behind the wicket for North Down 1st XI during the 1970s. His early cricket was played at The Green but his Methodist College education led to his Collegians connection where he played for a number of years and made many friends.
To his family we send our sincerest condolences at this time.
With brothers Billy and Peter firmly entrenched at The Green it was always the hope that Denis, a top class wicketkeeper, would join them. He had been a fierce opponent when Collegians and North Down met in the league and North Down certainly knew of his skill behind the stumps and his danger with the bat. He had played at The Green as a boy and was a member of the very good 1958 side that included Wilmer McKibbin, Don Shields, Tom Savage and other notable sportsmen. When he did arrive he would have been rated as a future Irish player and although this did not materialise, he played a significant amount of Interprovincial cricket for Ulster. He was part of the Senior League 2 winning sides in 1973 and 1979 and suffered during the relegation years and the forgetable 1975 Cup Final. Although well beaten on the first day of the two day final Denis threw down the gauntlet and scored a fine 66. In that year he played in the RUC winning 'sixes' side.
He was a natural tourist and organised the trip to Scotland, where he hit a maiden century and ensured that the whole squad celebrated in fine style to the extent that team selection became tricky for the remaining games. He won the silver rosebowl in 1975 being the top run maker and won a Senior Cup Winners medal with the victory against Ballymena in 1981, when he scored a vital 41 not out in the 2nd innings.
Work behind the scenes
The youth cricketers at the club have benefitted in recent weeks from some expert coaching from Bret Mulder, who has been appointed as our new Director of Cricket, initially on a short term basis, but one which both parties have long-term ambitions to work together.
Bret is a vastly experienced coach, as well as a former Sheffield Shield player with Western Australia, so we're delighted he has been working with both junior and senior squads, and will continue to do so until he departs for home at the end of the month.
He has also been working in a planning capacity with both adults and kids to make sure that preparations for the new season are in place, and that the structures set up will help us get the best out of all players at The Green.
Welcome aboard Bret!
It was with great sadness that the club members have learned of the death of Charlie who was a great supporter of the club over many years. We send our condolences to his family at these sorrowful times. Always a smile on his face and a kind word to say. Pictured second from the right with his close friends at The Green.
The members were saddened to hear of the death of Wallace (Wally) Boyce and wish to convey to Kathleen and the family their sincerest condolences. Wallace was one of a few players who could have played at the top level locally. A Qualifying League A winner in 1955 he was an aggressive batsman and excellent fielder. He won the club's 1st XI batting award in 1955 and in 1958. Unfortunately for the club he left to take up a work position in New York in 1965. A talented hockey player, he played for Ulster in the 1950 s. His funeral service will be held in Comber Gospel Hall at 11.30am on Monday 31st and following interment at Comber cemetery, refreshments will be available at North Down Cricket Club from circa 1.30pm
Not much to shout about
With the 1stXI taking an enforced mid-season break the focus has been on the junior teams but there hasn't been much to shout about, as a series of mediocre performances have met with a meagre points return.
Whilst the 3rds are sitting comfortably and the 4ths can't be relegated, Martin Moreland's 2ndXI need to find a couple of victories, and quickly, or the drop into Junior League 2 beckons...
The ladies were unsuccessful in their cup semi final so again it falls on the youth teams to provide some much needed good news - and a big congratulations this week to Evey Keenan and Oliver Wilkinson who are in Jersey with their respective NCU Knights teams.
The 1stXI begin the post-split season with a 'must-win' (they all are now) game against CSNI at Stormont . A good time I suppose to be at full strength for the first time in 2022 as Stirlo and Youngy join us after their International expolits!
1stXI up to second in Premier League
The headline is a great spin because truth be told until about 5pm on Saturday we weren't even sure we would make the top 6! But that is now history, once Pretorius was caught and bowled by the skipper (one of the 5 for) it was a procession and we finished with 6 wins from the first 9 games.
Our form has been poor in recent weeks and we didn't really learn anything new - when two of our top three 'come off' we are a match for anyone - they did on Saturday as Ani and Ally both scored 90 odd - that allowed 271 to be posted and a 100 run victory.
On the plus side - its all to play for!
There were defeats for very youthful 2nds and 3rds who must now focus hard on an upturn in form for the second half of the season.
We'll put that one down to experience.
The 2ndXI that travelled to Brigade on Sunday and lost by 29 runs in the Ulster Plate should not be dismissed as just another defeat for a 2ndXI that are struggling for form right now - the fact that 6 of the 11 who took to the field were under 18 years of age (2 x 17yo, 1 x 16yo, 3 x 14yo) demonstrates that there is light at the end of the tunnel with respect to the 'production line' which has been out of action for too long!
The theme last weekend was 'same old' as results across the club were mixed.
The 1stXI had a bad night a Carrick in the T20 Cup, neither batting nor bowling fired and we were duly 'stuffed'! Saturday saw 4 valuable points gained at the expense of Cregagh thanks to the overseas contingent's runs and wickets - next up is the Irish Senior Cup on Sunday at Phoenix when some much improved form will be required to secure a place in the quarters...
The 3rds had a comprehensive win at Bangor on Sunday in Junior 4 (4 wickets for Cleland, 40 odd with the bat for Dugan) but the 4ths were well beaten by the 'Aghy 3rds on Sunday.
Various youth games are also taking place regularly at The Green with the place full of girls and boys enjoying their cricket, roll on the best weather of the summer, soon, please!
Excellent progress, but only off the field...
Rarely in our 165 year history has there been so much going on around the club. In recent weeks we have been undergoing a major internal refurb and hosted a hugely successful Cricket Ireland T20 Weekend, over the winter we laid new pitches, last week our new electronic scoreboard was installed, our next home game will be live streamed*, the new driveway gates are due this month, new practice netting for the entire cage is being installed, the list seems endless!
All this of course while we go about our usual business of playing, coaching, fundraising etc etc.
Last weekend we hosted the latest version of our fantastic Beer & Cider festivals, an event that is now a really family friendly day entertaining the whole community whilst raising valuable funds.
Sadly, it was highlight of the weekend as results and performances on the field failed to live up to those off it.
The 1stXI exited the Challenge Cup and surrendered 4 valuable league points with under-par batting performances that leave more questions than answers. The ladies' and junior teams didn't fare much better and it was left to the Under 11s on Monday night to restore some pride with a nail-biting victory against CSNI, well done to them!
*subject to equipment being delivered on time!
Another 'Mixed Bag'
The 'cup' Saturday in May has been a problematic one in recent seasons, with all four teams out in one day providing a selection headache down the club.
No fewer than 18 player were unavailable on Saturday past but it is a credit to the growing junior club that we still fielded four competitive teams which included players from right across the age spectrum!
Stalwarts Dean McDonald, Davy Napier and Billy Dale took a 4thXI which included a vast majority youth players to Banford Green were they came up 12 runs short against Donacloney Mill 4ths - Thomas Vidamour once again the standout player.
Whilst across in Donacloney the 2nds had a disappointing loss in the Junior Cup, where batting woes once again proved costly as the 111 posted proved insufficient to Martin Moreland's men.
The 3rds had a straightforward victory against Holywood 2nds at Seapark in the Lindsay Minor Cup - 3 wickets for Aadi Maini followed up by a quickfire 47 for Lewis Dugan that raced the team into the second round.
At The Green, the 1sts v Brigade was touted by some as 'match of the round' in the Irish Senior Cup but it turned out to be anything but, as the home side trounced the visitors by 10 wickets in a one-sided encounter. Skipper Ally Shields was the MOM with a five wicket haul and then an unbeaten 77 with the bat.
So two wins from four, a mixed bag!
The club teams take a break this weekend as the Cricket Ireland Interprovincial T20 Festival comes to The Green, there are two matches scheduled for each day Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Up and Running
Although it is only the 4th May the new season is now well underway with most of the club's teams having seen some action on the field.
The men's 1stXI have started with back-to-back wins helped in the large part by a couple of 'tons' from Stirlo, while the ladies have won one and lost one.
In the junior teams it has been a mixed bag but good player availability bodes well for the season ahead.
The ever-expanding youth section have also started (did they ever stop?) and under the direction of the tireless Neil Dalzell seem destined to have their busiest summer ever!
The Premier League returns to The Green this Thursday (6pm) as the guys host CSNI in the game washed out from last week, while on Saturday CIYMS are the visitors.
Wednesday U15 v Cregagh HOME Friendly 6pm Thursday M1 v CSNI HOME Premier League 6pm Friday M2 v Inst HOME T20 Plate 6pm Saturday M1 v CIYMS HOME Premier League TBC M2 v CIYMS AWAY Junior 1 TBC Sunday M3 v CACC HOME Junior 4 1pm