Cricket: NCU uncertainty remains as seven clubs commit to no pros

Armagh want to bring Indrajeet Kamtekar back to the Mall this summer
Armagh want to bring Indrajeet Kamtekar back to the Mall this summer

Seven NCU Section One clubs have given a firm commitment not to bring in an overseas professional for the 2017 cricket season - but the intentions of three other clubs remain uncertain.

Nine of the 10 Section One clubs held a crisis summit at Derriaghy’s Queensway ground last night as they sought a resolution on how to deal with tighter regulations introduced by the UK Borders Agency.

Mansing Nigade was last at Donaghcloney in 2015

Mansing Nigade was last at Donaghcloney in 2015

Seven of the clubs - Academy, Bangor, Derriaghy, Downpatrick, Cliftonville, Holywood and Woodvale - gave a commitment that they would not be bringing in an overseas player this summer.

In what was described as a constructive meeting, which was organised by the clubs themselves and not by the NCU, representatives from Lurgan and Donaghcloney Mill indicated that they were still uncertain about which course to take.

Armagh, who were the only club not to attend last night, have indicated that they are pursuing an attempt to bring in Indrajeet Kamtekar, the veteran Indian professional, for a second successive season.

It is understood that a visa application for Kamtekar has already been made, with Lurgan and Donaghcloney also understood to have made respective applications.

Lurgan's Niranjan Godbole has been coming to Pollock Park for the last 15 years

Lurgan's Niranjan Godbole has been coming to Pollock Park for the last 15 years

Lurgan want to bring back Niranjan Godbole but it is understood their two representatives at last night’s meeting said the club had not been fully aware of all the developments in recent months. They have resolved to take the matter back to their next management meeting.

Donaghcloney Mill’s representative is understood to have stressed how coaching was the club’s overwhelming priority and that without a professional, they would struggle to develop the skills of young players. They could yet recruit someone in a coaching-only role.

While the other seven clubs will not pay an overseas professional, British and Irish passport holders remain options. Holywood are bringing in Dylan Agnew, formerly of Civil Service North, with Academy, who had New Zealander Mitchell Dickeson as a player-coach last season, believed to be taking a similar passport option.

A source who attended the meeting said it had been worthwhile. “There was no ill-feeling or arguing, it was a good meeting and seven of the clubs committed not to bring in a pro. Armagh did not attend but both Lurgan and Donaghcloney very much took on board what was said by the other clubs. Lurgan in particular seemed to be unsure of the regulations and wanted to take it back to their committee, which we understand.

“We agreed that we should meet up again in a few weeks.”

It is also believed that several clubs in Section Two, thought to be Larne, Dundrum and Templepatrick, are considering making visa applications on behalf of overseas players.