CRICKET: NCU has new sponsor for senior leagues

Michael Warke and  Iain Warke Director of Gardiner Brothers
Michael Warke and Iain Warke Director of Gardiner Brothers

Belfast jewellers, Gardiner Brothers, are the new sponsors of the Northern Cricket Union’s senior leagues.

The top flight will be known as the NCU Gardiner Brothers Premier League as part of a one-year deal.

The senior leagues had been without a sponsor after the end of a long-standing sponsorship with Ulster Bank.

The sponsorship by Gardiner Brothers, who have supplied medals to the union for the last 25 years, allows the NCU’s awards for outstanding individual performances to continue.

The awards are for players who score a century, take at least six wickets or take a hat-trick in the Premiership or the three sections of the Senior League.

So far this season 19 players have qualified for awards, headed by Ryan Smyth of Downpatrick courtesy of his record-breaking 249 not out in Section 1.

Iain Warke, company director of Gardiner Brothers said: “We are pleased to strengthen our relationship with the NCU, particularly in a way that recognises such excellent performances.”

NCU chairman, Alan Waite said: “The awards have been really valued by players down the years and the Union is delighted they can continue thanks to the support of Gardiner Brothers.”