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NCU Presidents Message Autumn 2016 - AGM and Annual Dinner Season

Peter McMorran
NCU President

It is hard to believe that the 2016 season is drawing to a close with the outcome of most Leagues and Cups already decided. I don't know where it's gone but I'm sure there are many Captains, coaches, umpires and administrators looking forward to a well earned rest before preparations begin for next year.

Maybe the reason the season has passed so quickly for me is because I have been lucky enough to visit around half of the NCU Clubs (don't worry keeping the best wine to the last); Eglinton, Bready and Donemana in the North West; Phoenix, Clontarf and Malahide in Leinster; my annual pilgrimage to Lords and this year an inaugural and entertaining visit to the County T/20 Finals in Warwickshire.

I've really enjoyed all of my visits but in particular taking my parents to Donaghadee (my Father being a founder member of the Club) to watch their 1st XI match v Monaghan. My Parents, wife, Pippa the dog and I met up with Freddie Gilroy, Chairman, Jordie McCluskey, Capt. and Derek Clegg who recalls scoring when my father played for Donaghadee. The banter was very enjoyable whilst all (including umpires Richard Johnston and Ian Houston ) reminisced about stories from old including my Father's 8 overs 8 wkts for 16 v Trooperslane. Proof, if it was needed, that talent does jump a generation.

Unfortunately Waringstown were unable to retain the Irish Cup losing to Merrion in the Final, however, the two Senior Cup Finals were graced with two brilliant batting displays. Jason Van Der Merwe (ably supported by Shane Getkate) in the Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup and Greg Thompson in the Lagan Valley Steels T/20 Cup. Two superb innings for which Greg Thompson was appropriately rewarded by being selected to play for Ireland against Hong Kong at Bready.

The Ulster Cup was, due to poor weather, greatly impacted by bowl outs, though Brigade ran out worthy winners having accounted for the scalps of three NCU sides Lisburn, CSNI and North Down in away fixtures before winning their only bowl out in the Final against Ardmore.

The Premier League was won by Instonians for the third time in the past four years. A record of which any Club would be proud.

By winning Section One, Muckamore will next year return to the Premier League while both Cliftonville and Larne had similar resounding League victories in Sections 2 and 3 of the Senior League.

After a 24 year wait the Junior Cup has returned to Wallace Park with Lisburn 2nds, under the Captaincy of Ricky Finlay (Junior) overcoming Cliftonville in the Final.

At representative level the PWC Northern Knights came second in both the Championship and Cup Competitions and although the teams' performance has bettered under the leadership of James Shannon further improvement is achievable. In addition to Greg Thompson, James Shannon also earned an International recall and a first time call up for Jacob Mulder. Well deserved recognition for individual success at Interprovincial level.

Meanwhile, the Junior Knights, however stole the limelight with the Under 13s being runners up on run rate and the Under 11s, 15s and 17s all winning their age level tournaments.

I am pleased to say all of the above played whilst there has been a 50% reduction in disciplinary offences. Indeed Ian Latham, Chairman of Cliftonville CC made me aware of an incident which took place during a relegation match between Cliftonville 2nds and Instonians 4ths. A Cliftonville batsman attempted a run and was sent back by his partner. In doing so he slipped, however the Instonians fielder (unknown) decided to not attempt a run out. An act of sportsmanship well beyond the Spirit of Cricket requirements and one for which the fielder was rewarded with his team winning by 1 wicket. I don't know if my Spring Message encouraging Captains to remind players of the Preamble to the Laws of Cricket has had any influence but I would love to think so.

Now with the season drawing to a close Administrators' and Players' attention turns to AGMs and Annual Dinners. As mentioned in my Summer Message the NCU this year is delighted to have as its Guest Speaker former South Africa Test and ODI player Jonty Rhodes. I hear tables are booking quickly so would recommend early booking through General Secretary Bryan Milford at or Mobile 07828 182090.

Peter McMorran
NCU President

P.S. Away to book my flights and hotels for Friday 5th May (Bristol) and Sunday 7th May (Lords) for the 2017 England v Ireland ODI series.