The NCU’s annual general meeting saw several key proposals passed and rejected, and offered hints at where the Northern Cricket Union sees the future of the club game.
Here is a summary of some of the key votes and discussion points.
• A proposal that would have reduced Section One from its current 10 teams to eight was a tie and was not passed. However, this could be revisited in the near future.
• A proposal from Derriaghy that games in Section One and below can be reduced to 40 overs per side if both teams agree was passed.
. It was agreed that Section 2 should be reduced to eight teams from 2019. This should allow the Union to split the 15 clubs into two sections of eight and seven provided it receives a similar number of entries.
• Instonians, who arguably more than any other NCU club in recent years have been hit by representative call-ups, withdrew their proposal that would have advocated NCU Premier League games being postponed if two or more of their players were on Ireland or Norther Knights duty.
• A debate was held about the merit of returning to a 10-team NCU Premier League. Some clubs claim the eight-team model has not worked and has driven more talent to an elite group of clubs.
However, the issue was not voted on and some top clubs are reluctant to return to an 18-match league campaign and adding another four matches to the calendar. It was pointed out that the Twenty20 Cup has already been extended to six group games.
One possibility is create two separate conferences and dividing the league into two at some point in the season. However, the scheduling of fixtures and the knock-on impact were both highlighted as potential difficulties.
• A debate was held about extending coloured clothing and white ball cricket to all senior league fixtures. However, it was pointed out that such a move would have drawbacks in preparing representative players for red-ball cricket in the interprovincial three-day competition. There is also an issue around costs. There was no overall consensus on this.
• A strong feeling was expressed around the NCU’s continued participation in the National Cup. There was a consensus that clubs cannot afford to travel to places like Galway, Kerry and Cork. These concerns are to be taken back to the Cricket Ireland committee.