WITH the cricket season upon us once again Donaghcloney Cricket Club find themselves in a strong position looking forward.
This season the club will be field three Saturday senior teams as well as taking their first strides into 20 over cricket with a new midweek team.
The First XI continues in the Ulster Bank Section 1 where they will once again be under the captaincy of Keith Martin.
With the return once again of the club’s Indian overseas professional, Mansing Nigade, the team will be hoping for another positive season on the field and with the introduction of the Irish National Cup allowing them to lock horns with clubs from around Ireland it will mean there is yet more silverware on offer to the side.
This season also sees the introduction of a number of new rules aimed at making local cricket in the senior leagues more entertaining and to bring them into line with the current one day rules across the international arena.
The most noticeable of these changes is the introduction of the powerplay overs. This gives an opportunity for more big hitting and attacking cricket by limiting the number of fielders allowed outside of the circle for a set period of time.
Alongside this rule also sees the introduction of free hits being awarded for no balls where the batsmen will be able to have the freedom to go big without such a risk of losing their wicket.
The other major change noticeable to fans this year will be the introduction of coloured clothing for some of the competitions in the NCU calendar which Donaghcloney will be participating in. The Irish National Cup and Challenge Cup both require the usage of coloured clothing and while the league competition is remaining with the traditional white kits of the time being the new rules will please those looking to add more colour to the sport in this area.
The Cloney’s Second XI will be looking to bounce back at the first time of asking after a disappointing 2011 season saw them relegated to Junior League 3.
Under the new captaincy of Richard Clydesdale and with a number of young players having been heavily bled into the squad last year they will be hoping they have a good blend of youth and experience to make the immediate return to Junior League 2.
The Third XI will be aiming for consecutive promotions as they find themselves entering unknown waters in Junior League 8. Once again under the experienced captaincy of Raymond Matthews they will be hoping to continue the form shown in the 2011 season, where they found themselves winning their league with relative ease, losing only one league match throughout the season.
They will also be looking forward to another strong cup run, last season reaching the semi-finals before being put out by a strong Instonians side from a number of leagues above them.
At underage level the club is moving forward and making great strides towards more young people taking up the sport, helped no doubt by the publicity gained from the encouraging results of the Irish national yeam and the growing popularity of the Indian Premier League 2020 competitions.
This year the club will be competing in league and cup competition across U17, U15, U13 and U11 age ranges as well as growing numbers of younger children participating in practice during the summer months.
The club is always looking for new members, with senior practice running on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6.30 at the factory ground.
Practice for junior cricketers will run on Thursday evenings starting Thursday 19th April from 6.30-8.30 at the Factory Ground. The club has a number of qualified ECB coaches who will be leading all sessions and have gained many years experience of coaching and working with young people between them.
The season starts proper this Saturday as the Third XI take on CIYMS V at the Factory Ground, Donaghcloney.
There will also be a team taking to the field in Lurgan Park for the inaugural Jubilee Cup Competition hosted by Victoria Cricket Club. Featuring teams from Donaghcloney, Victoria, Millpark and Lurgan this will be a Twenty20 competition in one of the most picturesque places for cricket and will be starting from 10.30.
More information can be found on the club website www.donaghcloneycc.co.uk or on the social media at www.facebook.co.uk/donaghcloneycc or make contact with us on twitter @cloneycc to keep up to date with the season’s goings on.