It’s been a long time coming. Our first cricket blitz was held four years ago to raise money for a very special cause, after the daughter of a long-standing member had been diagnosed with leukaemia. I am happy to say that she is doing very well now, as is the daughter of another member who had the same diagnosis two years ago.
We have mooted having a similar event several times in the last couple of years, but time ran away with us, and it kept being put on a back burner. With us celebrating 175 years of existence this year, we were determined to see it through. We wanted to find a charity to work with for the event, and it was a no brainer for us to choose Aiobheann’s Pink Tie.
Formed in 2010, the charity was set up in the aftermath of the death of the daughter of one of its founders to cancer. Realising that there was little financial or practical support for the families of children affected by cancer, they set up in the hope of providing a support network for these families. And two members of our club have seen the incredible work that they do, so when we were looking for a charity to support, we did not have to look far.
As we all know, the weather has been shocking this year, but the sun gods were smiling down on us on Saturday (May 5th) as we gathered at McGrath Park from 8am to get things set up. Pink bunting and balloons were painstakingly put up (and remain up now!), a marquee was moved several times (we just didn’t think it through), a fantastic PA system was pieced together, beer kegs were set up, a cake/tombola/lucky-dip/refreshment stall was somehow squeezed onto one table, the BBQ was lit and at a little past 1015 the first ball of the day was bowled.
We welcomed teams from Pembroke CC and Carlow CC, as well as a team of doctors from Clonmel, a team of young bucks from Carlow IT and a thoroughly lovely lot from The Theatrical Cavaliers. Three teams from Bagenalstown made it eight in all, making up two groups of four. The format was five over innings (everyone but the keeper must bowl), with wides and NBs counting for 2 (but no extra ball), and double runs for the last over. The games take around 35-40 minutes and get surprisingly competitive!
Once all the teams were there – obviously, everyone cut it fine! – the cricket ran like clockwork, and the games ticked over, resulting in a final between Pembroke and Baggies 2s at around 7pm, with the big hitting Baggies running out as winners.
The prize draw was the main money spinner, with nearly 300 tickets sold at €10 a pop, and Jimmy Norman from Aoibheann’s Pink Tie drew the tickets to ensure fair play.
We sat down to count the money – not helped enormously by the free-flowing beer – and had a five-minute panic until we realised someone else was holding a big wedge of it, and at the final count, it looks like we have made around €4200 to be split evenly between the club and the charity, which was bang on target.
A gigantic amount of work went on in the lead up to the event, and as chairman I want to express my personal gratitude to all those who put in so much time before, during and after the day to make it such a resounding success.
It was wonderful to share the day with outside teams, too. The first time around, we kept it all in house, but it is obvious now that we missed a trick because having teams from the Leinster cricketing family added loads to atmosphere and feeling of goodwill, and I hope I am right in saying that a good time was had by all. The format worked brilliantly, and if anyone reading this wants to run a similar day, please get in contact if you want some help on how it all cobbles together.
I don’t know whether the LCU or Cricket Ireland is looking for a charity to adopt, but if they are, then please have a good look at Aoibheann’s Pink Tie. €2 donations can be made by texting “Pink tie” to 50300.
What was really wonderful was the support from the local community, and the demonstration that cricket can play such a positive role, generating money and so much goodwill in Ireland.
Thanks to all involved! Next one in 2020.