REPORT OF THE HONORARY SECRETARY OF THE LEINSTER CRICKET UNION FOR 2010
Mr President, ladies and gentlemen. It is my pleasure to report to you on the activities of the Union during the past year.
Sadly this report always has to contain a section on people in cricket who passed away during the previous year. It is always sad when we lose people from the small community of the cricket world. Just after last years’ AGM Dermot Monteith a past international died, in late December we lost Dermot Sweeney from Clontarf a former Hon. Treasurer of both the Leinster and Irish Cricket Unions, February saw the death of Clarissa Pilkington one of the stalwarts of women’s cricket and a member of Dublin University and Phoenix, Until last year she was actively coaching girls’ cricket in Leinster, in September Michael Hargaden a past president of Railway Union passed away. I would also like to extend the sympathy of the Union to all the families and club colleagues of all others who passed away during the year. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anamnacha dílis.
The 2010 season will be remembered for being relatively dry without too much sun. For the first time in a number of years the weather allowed the Lewis Hohn Wiliams Cup Final take place on the arranged day. A deluge during the week before the final caused some leakage on the wicket in College Park however the match was completed on the day. As in the previous year we had difficulty gaining sponsorship but we were very pleased that Lewis Hohn Williams continued their sponsorship and also to welcome Fergus Carroll in the name of NEARfm who sponsored the Alan Murray 20/20 competition. Cork County were included in Division 2 in 2010 playing every other team once only away. In 2011 they will continue to play but will play both home and away. The clubs are once again having the fixtures for Division 1 and 2 made centrally. This will happen as soon as the dates for all the cup competitions are known and also the International fixtures. This year Merrion ensured that the Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup remained in Leinster for yet another year and they are to be congratulated on their first win in the competition. The Irish men’s team are playing in the World Cup in February and we wish them all the best of luck. The Irish women’s team are playing in the qualifiers for their world cup in 2011 and we also wish them under their new coach, Stephen Moreton, all the best for that.
The Lewis Hohn Williams Senior Cup final was staged in College Park for the first time since 1947 and it was a very exciting affair with Railway Union winning over cup specialists Clontarf. It was Railway Union’s first win in the competition for 47 years. Sincere thanks must go to Dublin University for their excellent staging of the final.
The Alan Murray Cup 20/20 cup was sponsored by NEARfm for the first time in 2010. On the day of the finals, staged in Phoenix, we were once again lucky with a fine day and all matches were played on time. North County defeated Railway Union in one semi final and Malahide defeated Phoenix in the second semi-final. In the final North County were victorious over Malahide. Thanks go to Phoenix for supplying excellent facilities for the matches.
The leagues were not sponsored again this year and Division 1 was won by North County. Malahide and Leinster were demoted to Division 2 and the winners of Division 2 Phoenix together with the runners up Pembroke were promoted to Division 1 for the 2011 season.
On an individual basis the Marchant Cup was won by Saadat Gull (Rush). The bowling award, the O’Grady Cup, was won by Eddie Richardson (North County). Kenny Carroll (Railway Union) won the Samuels Cup as the best all rounder. The Hopkins Cup for Wicket Keeping was won by Dara Armstrong (North County). The Solomons Cup for most catches was won by Dave Langford-Smith (Phoenix). Kenny Carroll (Railway Union) also won the players’ player award and Eddie Richardson (North County) the Young Player of the Year award. The John Dawson award for fair play went to Tom Fisher (Railway Union). The Hall of Fame award went to Robin Waters (Old Belvedere).
I would like to thank Gerry Byrne who yet again delivered the results every Monday so that all teams and individuals knew where they stood.
The Executive Committee met frequently during the year. The attendance by most clubs was very good while others, as usual, only appeared when they had something negative to say or to further their own personal interests. In addition, the system of sub-committees was again used to the full advantage. All sub-committees met regularly during the year. Over the last year the President elect Eddie Lewis together with legal advice from John Buckley have revised the rules of the Union and they were put to the EGM before this meeting. Under the new rules the committees will represent cricket and delegates to any of the committees will not be there to represent their individual clubs. This is to be welcomed.
This year the Disciplinary Committee, dealt with many cases. Two cases were appealed to the executive committee and the executive committee upheld both decisions with a minor change to one. As reported in previous years it was noted that in many cases the clubs in question had taken no internal action prior to the disciplinary hearing even when the player was clearly in breach of rules or regulations or the code of conduct. Clubs are again asked to be stricter in relation to discipline. The committee also met representatives of the Umpires and Scorers Association to discuss the reporting of incidents as it has become known that there is a difference in the reporting in cases of sledging. Once again the regulation with respect to teams playing in lower divisions having their own umpires worked to a large extent.
The Senior Competitions Committee met on a regular basis. Their main area of business as in previous years was the registration of Professional players. In addition they also considered changes to competition regulations. The fixtures next year for divisions 1 and 2 will once again be made centrally as noted earlier. It is also important that all clubs attend the fixture meeting which will be arranged in January to finalise the fixtures for all 14 divisions.
The Finance Committee met regularly under the Chairmanship of Noel Gough. The fees situation was reviewed again this year and there was no increase in affiliation fees and in accordance with the wishes of the clubs there were no additional fund raising activities. The committee are to be thanked for all their hard work in trying to raise sponsorship when they lost another major sponsor in Dublin Grass Machinery. They were very pleased to announce that they did attract a new sponsor in NEARfm through Fergus Carroll and he is to be thanked for his generous sponsorship. Most clubs paid their affiliation and umpires fees promptly and they are to be thanked for that. Unfortunately every year there are still a small number of clubs, and they are always the same ones, who have to be chased constantly. If all clubs behaved like this it would not be possible to run the Union. It is thanks to the Hon. Treasurer Gerry Fennell that the finances of the Union are in a healthy state. He, together with the finance committee, draw up a budget which is strictly adhered to.
In addition to those who sponsor senior cricket I would like to thank all those who sponsor cricket at junior, women’s, youths and schools levels. The companies and individuals who place advertisements in the Handbook are also to be thanked. If anyone knows of anyone interested in sponsoring any cricket competitions ask them to contact the Hon. Treasurer.
The Development Committee under the chairmanship of Eddie Lewis met on a regular basis. Eddie did excellent work in putting together proposals for the re-structuring of the administration of the union which resulted in the new rules adopted earlier this evening. In addition the development committee also entered into an agreement with Unique Perspectives on a no sponsorship no fee basis. There is also a new web site under development and this is expected to be in operation in plenty of time for the coming season. Various groups are at present supplying information.
Brian O’Rourke continued as the Union’s development officer throughout the past year. In the twelve years since Brian took up his position the improvement in underage teams can be seen. Brian has prepared a report and this has been circulated to all clubs. The North County indoor facility is being used on a regular basis on behalf of the Union for coaching sessions in the winter. Again this year the Union contributed many players to International teams at all underage levels. The success of the under age teams in European competitions is due in no small way to the Leinster players on the various sides who have been developed by Brian. The finance committee successfully negotiated extra funding with Fingal County Council to extend the hours of Reinhardt Strydom as development officer in the Fingal area at grass roots level to assist Brian. Brian on behalf of the Union is also in negotiation with other county councils for support for further development officers in their areas. Brian once again should be commended for his hard work. In January last he came under the umbrella of Cricket Ireland but continues to work in the Leinster area as the development manager.
The Umpires and Scorers Association were as usual very busy with training courses during the winter. Through their Appointments Secretary Jim McGeehan, the umpires once again provided excellent coverage for all matches in divisions 1 and 2 and many more in lower divisions and also in cup competitions. It is appreciated by all players. Unfortunately there are still too few people willing to give their services to the Association. Only if umpires ranks are swelled, can coverage of all matches be continued and extended. Enjoyment of the game could be even greater if there were enough people willing to give of their time even to cover one or two matches in a season. Again I appeal to clubs to listen to this message and to try to encourage members to give of their time for even one or two matches during the season.
The annual Leinster Cricket Union awards dinner took place in Old Belvedere Rugby Club in November. The night, as in previous years, was very enjoyable. It was a very successful social occasion and all award winners were presented with their trophies both league and individual. Thanks are expressed to Brian Merry for organising the venue and to Gerry Fennell for keeping tabs on the finances on the night. Thanks also go to Michael Sharp for organising the distribution of all the trophies.
I would just like to thank the PRO Fergus Carroll, the Hon. Secretaries of all the clubs, all members of all sub-committees, and the Junior, Women’s, Youth and Schools Branches for their hard work and co-operation throughout the year,
Finally I would like to thank everyone else who has supported me in my role of Hon. Secretary. In particular I would like to thank my fellow officers Matt, Gerry and Eddie. Matt stands down this year after his two year term of office and I shall miss the 7.30am telephone calls asking “is there anything I should worry about?” I would also like to thank Michael for his support and for putting up with sub-committee meetings in the “Sharp Conference Centre” in Dornden Park throughout the year. The members of all the sub-committees worked tirelessly and deserve all your thanks, there are too many of them to mention them all individually. I would also like to take this opportunity to personally thank the sponsors who helped me organise their respective competitions.
As always I must thank Stella Downes and the Clontarf Club for always being willing to make the facilities here in Castle Avenue available for this meeting and for some of our other meetings during the year. In addition this year we held some meetings outside Clontarf and I would like to thank Philip Byrne and Pembroke for allowing us use the pavilion in Sydney Parade. In addition I would also like to thank all the other people in all cricket clubs who offered advice when it was necessary and especially to those who responded promptly to all e-mail queries. I must stress however that there are still a small number of clubs whose Hon. Secretaries never respond and this results in having to make several extra contacts which obviously takes time. I appeal to all Hon. Secretaries to respond promptly to all emails when a response is required.
If I have forgotten to thank anyone I apologise. May I thank you all for your attention and wish you and all the new committees success in their new roles. I wish you all a very Happy Christmas, a prosperous New Year, good weather and all the best on and off the field for the next twelve months.