Cricket season to get underway

MILLPARK and Donaghcloney are putting thei final touches to their preparations as the new cricket season begins this coming Saturday when the Tullylish team host newly promoted Larne (1pm) while the Cloney host Woodvale.

MILLPARK and Donaghcloney are putting thei final touches to their preparations as the new cricket season begins this coming Saturday when the Tullylish team host newly promoted Larne (1pm) while the Cloney host Woodvale.

Millpark welcome back former Irish International Charlie McCrum for a second season at Banford Green. McCrum was instrumental in the team finishing a respectable fourth in 2012, his consistent run scoring getting the batting off to a great start.

Darrell Martin has been appointed club coach, and the early signs are that players are benefitting from his experience and methods.

Millpark have played just the one pre season game, against Lurgan in the Maloneys 20/20 Jubilee Cup. In a tense finish, Millpark were able to overcome the Lurgan XI by the margin of just one run. They will play either Donaghcloney or host club Victoria in the final.

Ground staff have been busy over the winter installing new drainage at the ground, and it is anticipated that this will be a great help should we suffer a repeat of last summer’s wet weather. There have been other improvements in and around the clubhouse, including a resurfaced car park, so Banford Green is looking its picturesque best ahead of the summer.

Following a worthwhile series of indoor nets, outdoor practice is now well under way. Starting at 6.30 on Tuesday and Thursday nights, all newcomers will be made welcome. For further details, Club Chairman Johnny Breen can be contacted on 07866 049309.

Over the past few years, the Donaghcloney committee has worked extremely hard in rebuilding a strong youth set up, developing the practice facilities and improving the outfield and square. This is beginning to pay dividends as the club’s U15 team won their league and had some fine wins in the Graham Cup.

The club has an expanding youth setup with a number of fully qualified level 1 and 2 coaches providing coaching on Thursday nights for 6 to 15 year old boys and girls.

Donaghcloney are also able to field three senior teams with the first team competing in Section 1, the second tier of the Northern Cricket Union. The team finished a creditable fifth in the league last season. This excellent performance ranks the club 13th out of the 38 senior clubs in the Northern Cricket Union.

The club intends to bring back last year’s talented Indian professional, the dynamic Mansing Nigade, who lit up the league last with some destructive batting displays. The team will once again be captained by the shrewd Keith Martin and consists of an excellent blend of talented youth and experience which should see continued progress.

The second XI will be captained by the Kyle Weir and the third XI by the Raymond Matthews. Both sides will consist of mostly young players with a few older hands to offer guidance and advice. It will be an interesting season as the Northern Cricket Union has re-organised the junior leagues and both sides will be facing new opposition in their respective leagues. The key aim of the captains is to offer continued development of cricket skills and knowledge to their young teams but given the talent available both will also be hoping to gain promotion.

The club committee has been delighted with the progress made in the club in recent seasons and is keen to attract both new senior and youth members to build on this progress. The success of clubs like Donemana and our near neighbours Waringstown at the highest levels of Irish cricket are inspirational examples of what can be achieved by clubs based in a small village environment.

Practice nights for the senior teams are on Monday and Wednesday nights commencing at 6.30pm and is open to all standards of player.

If you or your children are interested in taking up cricket or are a current cricketer looking for new challenge, you will be made most welcome at Donaghcloney Cricket Club. Their aim is to provide an enjoyable environment while also offering the opportunity to improve skills.

Please contact the club secretary, Kyle Weir, on 07595377194 or email on for more information about club membership. Club news can also be found on their Facebook page and own website.

Donaghcloney would also like to thank all it sponsors and particularly out main sponsor, Electronic Excellence Ltd for their continued support in recent years.