Focus on youth development is key at Dundrum Cricket Club
Dundrum Cricket Club will again run a youth tour this month when a group of 13 under-16 players enjoy a two-night trip to Dumfries.
The group, consisting of both boys and girls, will be accompanied by four coaches and will play four matches during their three day stay, including a Test match with a local club.
It is the fourth year in five that the County Down club have put on this experience for their youth, with previous years seeing them visit Scotland twice and also Shropshire town Telford.
Chairman of selectors Jeff Maguire has been instrumental in organising all of the tours, and he believes it gives the children something to look forward to and grows their love of the game.
“We are staying for three days and play four games,” he said.
“For the first time ever, we are going to play a Test match with two innings and declarations and try to chase scores down.
“They wanted to try and I thought ‘why not?’ and see what the kids think of it. It’s important to push your kids and promote the game.
“I think it brings great team morale and brings them all together.
“We are lucky in that the kids we have at our club are very well-mannered. They have never let us down when we have went on tour.
“They are well up to the standard of playing against any team in the UK.”
Dundrum continue to put emphasis on their youth, and are planning to bring in the likes of Shane Getkate and professional Matt McGillivray to take coaching sessions.
“This year is the first in 10 we don’t have an overseas coach,” added Maguire.
“At the minute we are working with Shane Getkate from Instonians and Matt McGillivray from CIYMS, who are both going to come down and take coaching sessions which the club will pay for.
“We are looking to get quality coaching for our young lads. Bruce Topping is also going to come and give a wicketkeeper session.”
They are also open to trying new things to get players into the club, with a match between a local gaelic club and football club planned for the near future, and Maguire says it is a credit to the club that new initiatives and ideas are being put into action.
“Four years in five is a massive testament to our club and how hard we are working,” he said.
“We have started ladies cricket and it is very slow to take off, but I know it will.
“We are looking to invite a hurling club to test out the bowling match and we are going to have a match between a gaelic club and a football club.
“The next Eoin Morgan could be living in your village and you would never know!”
Maguire is confident that the club will return to its glory days, with the likes of this tour key to engaging the youth who will become the backbone of the club in years to come.
“I think we need to go back to go forward,” he added.
“We have a lot of young players coming through and I think they would benefit from going down a league.”
“You are playing against some very good players at this level. We are a unique club that is a village club trying to start again.
“It’s all about the club - we don’t care what standard we are playing at.
“Of course we would like to be playing as high as we can, but we are want to give people a match and if that means going down a league then so be it. We will be back.”