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.
Gallagher New Youth Academy Sponsor
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...
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.