Posted: 4 weeks ago

Down the club – a 3rd, 4th & 5thXI Preview…

2024 marks a significant year in terms of the club’s development ‘down the teams’, with a couple of noteworthy dates in particular to look forward to.

Fielding a 5thXI for the first time in the club’s history, the fledgling side will host Cliftonville on May 18th and then on June 22nd we will have all five men’s teams in action on the same day, in what will be another ‘first’ in the illustrious North Down story.

Neil has played a key role in our youth development

This has largely been made possible by the fantastic work in developing our youth cricket at The Green over the last decade, as the new side will be based around a ‘lads & dads’ theme, with some interesting cameo appearances being mooted.

Neil Dalzell has driven the youth cricket forward in the last few years, and before that we had committed work from people such as Scott Irvine, Andy McCrory, Billy Dale, John Gilliland, Craig Yelverton and too many more to name individually, but collectively they have all played their part. Now in 2024 we have a strong coaching group which has, backed by the ambitious committee, added Bret Mulder as Director of Cricket and his early season influence has meant there is a real buzz around the club, with a huge uplift in training numbers meaning there is genuine competition for places throughout.

Graham Moreland gave many years service to the club captaining the 3rds and 4ths but he has now hung the spikes up for good, or has he…

Ah, what some of those junior captains through the recent ‘darker’ times would have given for such numbers! Folks such as Graham Moreland, Andy McCrory and Sandi Harrison spring to mind (of course there were others too) when it comes to those who kept things going when it wasn’t so easy and that shouldn’t be forgotten. Its not that long ago withdrawing the 4thXI from competitive action was the topic of the day…

But back to the present day’s positivity and this year the 3rdXI will be led by Steven Crothers (what an asset to the club he is by the way) and have set their sights on promotion to Junior 3. The side boasts a blend of youth and experience and will play an attacking brand of cricket. The explosive Lewis Dugan and Young Ollie Keenan’s ball-striking will be a handful for any bowling attack. 15-year-old off-spinner Joel Parker is an early shout for leading wicket-taker (Jonah Ditty might have something to say about that), and in another Parker, Josh, they have a highly talented all-rounder keen to make an impression.

Youthful Dugie

With a year under his belt already on the 3rds, Zac Parker will be keen to ‘kick on’, and with Jaxon Dines and ‘keeper Jack Heron also looking to nail down places the options for the skipper are plentiful. Throw in experienced guys like Iain Arthur and Michael Dines, and I haven’t even mentioned Tim Ewart and Will Park, and hopefully a successful season lies ahead for this group!

Steven commented “I’m particularly keen to see our youth players push on to the next stage of their development and we’ll provide a positive environment to facilitate that. There’ll be a few challenging for 2nd XI places and picking eleven players each week will mean someone’s disappointed, so that’s a great problem to have”.

The 4th XI is also eyeing promotion after narrowly missing out last year. The evergreen Robin Nesbitt can’t wait to get out in the middle and reckons he hit more balls over the winter than he has in the last 5 years! Thomas Barr is a left-arm seamer in the mould of Aussie quick Bruce Reid, although not quite clocking 90mph yet and if the enthusiasm and commitment of Alex Fielding is replicated around the club we’ll be in good shape.

Billy is available for Enniskillen Away!

The eagerly anticipated bus trip to Enniskillen is 10th August and Billy Adams has already cancelled a week in the sun to be first on the team sheet! Chairman Dean McDonald is the mastermind of the operation and may well make the odd appearance, in between keeping up to date with the 45 WhatsApp groups he is involved in.

Hasn’t changed a bit our 5thXI skipper…

The 5th XI will be led by ex-1st XI skipper Jo Montgomery, ably assisted by Johnny Heron. Having finally accepted a “Pay-per-play” package to get him away from the golf course, Jo will bring a competitive edge to the team and is looking forward to playing alongside his son Joshua, another quality prospect. Johnny meanwhile will settle for getting ‘bat on ball’ I would imagine.

Don and Davy, two potential 5thXI recruits

It’s hoped that the legend Davy Napier might add to his club appearances as it’s rumoured he may have a significant birthday approaching while Gatch has stated that he needs to play for the 5ths so that he maintains his streak of having played for every team (although I assume he is discounting the women’s teams with that comment). Even super-veterans such as club historian Ian Shields have assured the selectors that they wouldn’t want to see any team go anywhere ‘one short’…

Isn’t it amazing what the prospect of your classy cover drive being beaming live around the globe on our YouTube channel will do to improve availability?

There’ll be plenty of entertainment when these teams take to the field at The Green so get yourself down there, support your club and check out the players of the future (and past).

I wonder what the makeup of the first ever 5thXI team photo will be – you’ll see it here first!

Disclaimer/apologies in advance – when an article appears with so many names it is inevitable that some people will have been missed – rest assured this is an oversight and your contribution to the club is equally as important!

Recent posts

  • Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    Posted: 22 hours ago
  • History Made

    Posted: 1 week ago
    Our first ever 5thXI
  • Lots of Activity

    Posted: 2 weeks ago
    Bret, Mo and Daisy