There was a real buzz of excitement about the Valley Leisure Centre on February 28 and March 7 as 10 local primary schools competed in the first ever Newtownabbey primary schools indoor cricket tournament.
Around 100 boys and girls from Whiteabbey, Greenisland, Upper Ballyboley, Straid, Glengormley Integrated, The Thompson, Fairview, Kilbride, Templepatrick and Ballynure primary schools took part in the competition, which was organised by Newtownabbey Borough Council in conjunction with Templepatrick Cricket Club, Cliftonville Cricket Club and Active Communities cricket coach, Michael Hingston.
The tournament provided primary school pupils with the chance to play a new sport and to hone their cricket skills with the help of qualified coaches. Schoolchildren who had never played the game were given the opportunity take part in free cricket sessions to polish up on their batting and bowling before the two days of competition.
The first day of competition saw Whiteabbey take victory, with Straid finishing runners up. In an extremely closely fought second session, the team from Templepatrick Primary were the winners, just pipping Ballynure by the narrowest of margins.
Mayor Fraser Agnew and Cricket Ireland’s Regional Development Officer, Nigel Jones attended the event to present the trophies, as well as showing off their own cricket skills.
Dean Holmes, NBC Sport and Play Development Officer, commented: “Cricket is going from strength to strength in Newtownabbey and we are working on a number of programmes in partnership with local clubs, Templepatrick and Cliftonville, along with Cricket Ireland. Programmes of this kind really show that cricket is not just a fair weather sport and we hope all the pupils enjoyed their day and will go on to join one of these two fantastic clubs. Who knows, the next Paul Stirling might just be round the corner!”
Andy McCrea, Templepatrick CC Cricket Development Officer, added: “Well done to the winners on each day. But the most important thing is that everybody enjoyed the challenge and fun of cricket.
“We look forward to the competition growing each year, with even more schools getting on board with cricket in the borough. Whether beginning cricketers or already proficient, there is something available for everyone.
“I must thank Newtownabbey Borough Council, Sports Development Officer Dean Holmes, the Valley Leisure Centre and Active Communities coach Michael Hingston for their support of this venture and would welcome any further support from any organisations or companies out there who would like to get involved in this ever popular school sport.”
Templepatrick Cricket Club offers cricket coaching for girls and boys of P1 age and upwards. Sessions will be starting at Easter time.
For more information about the club’s youth coaching programme, call Andy McCrea on 07811 737047 or log on to www.templepatrickcc.co.uk
Anyone interested in having a go at cricket, or any other sport, should contact Dean Holmes on 028 9034 0065 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.