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NCU Presidents Christmas 2016 Message

Peter McMorran
NCU President

As another year draws to a close I wonder where the time has gone. Maybe it's a function of age or maybe I'm just enjoying my time as President. Time flies when you are enjoying yourself.

It only seems like a few weeks ago since the NCU Dinner and AGM yet these were held over 2 months ago. Both Colin Barkley and Bryan Milford assuredly managed the "sell out" NCU Dinner with humour and precision albeit Colin may have broken the Estate Agents covenant of not saying something malicious about a colleague (I am consulting with my solicitorJ). Guest speaker Jonty Rhodes oratory and motivational performance made the evening an enjoyable experience and one which club members will wish to attend in future years.

The general consensus at the AGM was one of, where possible, giving Clubs as much flexibility as possible to decide the length and when matches should take place ensuring as much cricket as possible is played. Perhaps however the best news at the AGM was the announcement of a full time NCU Development Officer (a role now taken up by Callum Atkinson) and the Jim McMorran Award for voluntary services to cricket going to the well-deserved and popular recipient John McCormick of Muckamore.

At the end of the AGM, and his 3 year reign in charge, Andy Clement received a well-deserved ovation. Andy suggested he will now, without vested interest, be able to tweet helpful comments to his successor Alan Waite. Another individual of similar ilk to Andy who works tirelessly in voluntary yet professional service in his approach to his NCU duties. Already his Board members are aware of the proficient manner in which NCU activities will be governed during his tenure.

Meanwhile the work of the NCU Board and Directorates continues over the winter period in preparation for the 2017 season. Selection of Winter training squads, Winter Academy training, League structures and fixtures, Cup Draws, Safeguarding, Club development and Accreditation, are all matters, among others, needing organisation and implementation. We the playing members (some of us ex playing) owe a deep debt of gratitude to those individuals who give of their time to advance the development of cricket in our region.

I am glad to say there has also been time to socialise. I was delighted to attend the Woodvale Annual Dinner where we were entertained by the Minister of Education Peter Weir and the main speaker of the evening Umpire Michael Foster.   The Lord Mayor Brian Kingston, Regional Development Officer Nigel Jones and myself were also invited to the BISC 10th Anniversary where we enjoyed the Awards presentation, followed by cultural displays and entertainment and then some delicious food. Wishing BISC every success in the development of their club during the next 10 years and beyond.

I was also delighted to attend the Leinster Union Awards Dinner and appreciated the kind words about the NCU from Leinster Chairman Roland Bradley.
Many congratulations to NCU players Jacob Mulder, Paul Stirling, Gregg Thompson and Gary Wilson on their selection to the 14 man Ireland squad for the Desert T20 Series in UAE next month. We wish them and the Ireland team every success.

I know the four main topics of conversation at Christmas Dinner will be Donald Trump, Brexit, RHI and cricket red cards. The MCC's Cricket Committee has made a recommendation that Umpires be given the power to send off Players in the most extreme cases of on field breaches of discipline eg. threats to an Umpire, physically assaulting another player, umpire, officer or spectator, or any other act of violence on the field of play.  The recommendations, due to be implemented in 2018 season, are apparently aimed at dealing with the increasingly poor standards of behaviour in recreational cricket rather than at professional level. Let us hope that Umpires in the NCU region will never have to utilise these new measures. There was a considerable drop in the number of reported disciplinary offences this year in the NCU region and it is my seasonal wish that this trend will continue in coming seasons.  

Finally may I wish, not only Ulster Bank, PWC, Arthur J Gallagher, Lagan Valley Steels and all other NCU sponsors, but all NCU Club members and their families a Happy Christmas and successful New Year.

Peter McMorran
President NCU – Twitter @NCUPres

PS Pippa (the dog) is looking forward to the 2017 season and meanwhile is collecting cricket balls from the undergrowth in East Belfast.