The club are delighted to announce Gallagher as the new headline sponsor of our youth cricket section at The Green.
The youth section of the club, which we re-branded this year to be our Academy, has grown dramatically in the last few years after a concerted effort to revive it's fortunes, and the new sponsorship will help us to continue that good work and build on the solid foundations now in place.
This season with over 150 kids we have fielded at least 8 sides throughout the age groups and have for the first time in our history fielded an all girls team. The coaching team have worked tirelessly throughout the summer months and despite not winning any trophies we have made the step forward to be competitive in the age-group Premier Leagues and the U15s reached their league semi-final. On top of that, a number of players have achieved underage NCU representative selection.
The additional sponsorship has not only helped provide new playing shirts but will also ease the financial burden during the winter months, when facility hire is a large expense. On top of that, it will also enable us to progress with initiatives such as a new bowling machine and video analysis equipment which will be of great benefit to the players and coaches.
So a huge 'thank you' to Gallagher from all the youth players, coaches and parents at The Green!
Shane Matthews, Regional Managing Director at Gallagher, said “We are huge cricket fans at Gallagher and are delighted to be partnering with North Down Cricket Club.
As a local community broker, supporting sport in the areas where our clients are based is something we are passionate about. Partnering with a cricket club that is such a pillar of the local community is a huge source of pride for us.
After what has been a challenging couple of years for sport, we are delighted that the season has been such a success."
A Club Steeped in Tradition
Above: the inaugural winners in 1897
By the club historians...
When North Down face CIYMS in the Senior Challenge Cup Final at The Green on Friday it will be a new experience for 8 members of the team. Only Ryan and Andrew Haire with 15 appearances between them and Peter Eakin with 1 will fully appreciate the significance and history of the trophy that will be on display in front of the pavilion.
The home side, with the Final being played for the eighth consecutive year at The Green, should have a good support from those who have enjoyed the experience of playing at this stage and the many youngsters who play in the junior teams. There have been 3 Golden Eras in the club’s history the first coming from 1887 until 1899 when the great trophy was won 9 times. Oscar Andrews reigned supreme with the bat and ball and the Turner brothers, Willie and Sam, and Tommy Graham took the bulk of the wickets under the captaincy of John Andrews Jnr.
The 2nd Golden Era was between the 2 World Wars 1919 until 1939 when James and Tom Macdonald, Jack Dearden, DGR McKibbin and Jackie Shields ruled for 2 decades under the leadership of the inimitable Willie Andrews.
The most recent Golden Era in Senior Challenge Cup terms began in 2000 and finished in 2010.
The cup sides at this time were bursting with talent and although many players graced the Final, some stood out. Robin Haire with 12 North Down finals under his belt played in 7 of these Millennium Finals as did Jo Montgomery with two others prior to 2000.
Ryan Haire and the classy David Kennedy both scored unbeaten centuries while both players and Andrew White, Jo Montgomery, Neil Russell, Peter Shields and Robin Haire added plenty of runs to the score book and at the same time there were wickets aplenty for the likes of Billy Adams, Marty Dalzell, Gavin McKenna, Ralph Coetzee and Peter Connell - who can forget the celebrations when Connell dismissed his fellow Kiwi, the brilliant Craig McMillan in 2010?!
Ryan Haire, destroying with the bat, Martin Moreland taking many crucial wickets and Shields, top wicket-keeper and leading the side during these glory years, played in all 10 Finals during this period.
In contrast to the 31 outright cup wins and 1 shared, CIYMS have won this trophy only 3 times but recently in 2015, 2017 and 2019 and have plenty of dangerous opposition to the home side including former North Down players James Cameron-Dow and Jacob Mulder. The sides have met already this season at Belmont in the Premier League when North Down were successful by 53 runs but in cup terms, the last big meeting in a Final was at The Green in 2010 when North Down won by 74 runs and Taimur Khan was MOM with 89 and 3 for 14.
Ali Shields leads a very talented side into this Final, which, weather permitting, should be a classic.
You can read more about all of the Senior Cup 'characters' in The Vault...
Eakin - 10 Years of Support
Eakin's major sponsorship of the club has reached a milestone in 2021 as this is the tenth year of our partnership. The club are indebted to Jeremy and all at Eakin for their continued support.
This is what Jeremy had to say:
"2021 marks 10 years of Eakin Group’s partnership with North Down Cricket Club. During that time the club has continued to thrive and stay a strong and relevant part of the Comber community despite changing lifestyles and demands on peoples’ time. However, lately much has changed in the world around us due to the covid pandemic. Thankfully as vaccination rates are high in N Ireland, players are participating in a near full season of cricket so spectators and loyal fans can again enjoy and critique from the sidelines.
Here at the Eakin Group we have also experienced change in the last year as we have acquired Armstrong Medical in Coleraine. This means we are now actively manufacturing and supplying respiratory care products to the NHS and further afield – part of our commitment to supporting those in critical care during the pandemic and beyond. We are committed to better health and care globally and to providing employment opportunities within Northern Ireland.
On behalf of the Eakin Group, I would like to wish North Down Cricket Club well for the season and to all players and fans, please stay safe and healthy."
We have been delighted in recent weeks to see some of our players receive representative recognition, it is richly deserved and a credit to both themselves, coaches and families, well done!
Youth Kick Off
Cricket Ireland Awards
The club was delighted to learn of it's nomination for the prestigious Cricket Ireland Tildenet Club of the Year title, having been shortlisted alongside Dublin YMCA, Limerick and Newbuildings.