Thursday, July 25, 2024

Facilities, Performance and participation growth the key focus at recent Cricket Ireland Board Meeting

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Photo Credit: Cricket Ireland

Major initiatives in facilities, recent on-field performances and growth in participation levels were all highlighted at the recent Cricket Ireland Board meeting in Dublin.

This was the first Board Meeting for the new Directors – David Richardson, Liam Lynch and Sukhi Byrne.

Having commenced the concept in 2023, the Board also re-committed to roadshows with meetings around the Provinces during the year, linking in with the local Provincial Unions and clubs to better understand issues and opportunities on the ground.

The meeting was the fourth Board Meeting for 2024 and addressed a range of matters which are summarised below.

FACILITIES PROGRAMMES

The Board was updated on progress of planning and funding processes relating to the redevelopment project at Malahide Cricket Club. The proposed works would involve the development of a new clubhouse and ancillary developments at the ground.

 Warren Deutrom, CEO of Cricket Ireland, spoke about the process:

“Cricket Ireland has been working closely with Malahide Cricket Club on the current development proposal at the club. We believe a partnership approach to this project will ensure the outcomes will be of benefit not only to the Club and its members, but also to Irish cricket more broadly.

“Most fans of Irish cricket have a fondness for Malahide, and through these proposed upgrades we hope to ensure we can continue to play international and other top-class cricket at the ground for many years to come.

“Of course, with the rapid growth in fixtures and demand for ground access right across Irish cricket, this project at Malahide is just one of a number of important development projects we are currently driving or supporting. This includes the stadium at the National Sports Campus in Dublin, the proposed redevelopment within the NICSSA precinct in Belfast and the high performance turf training facilities at Bready to name but a few.

“Cricket Ireland’s vision is to become a major nation in world cricket, and a major sport in Ireland. To achieve this, we need to invest in, support and advocate for more facilities, equipment and grounds across Ireland – and vastly improved infrastructure at Malahide is a key part of this strategy.

“I know how hard everyone has worked on submitting this application within the timescales, and we all sincerely hope that the terrific partnership approach between the Malahide CC project leaders and Richard Fahey on our team will bear the fruit it deserves.  Our thanks also to Fingal County Council for their guidance and support through the process to date.”

Further updates and reports regarding facilities included:

  • National Stadium: an update on progress of the concept was presented, as well as an update from a recent meeting between Cricket Ireland and the Sport Ireland Board.
  • NICSSA Sport redevelopment: an update on the progress of funding and planning approvals was presented.
  • Bready facilities upgrade: an update was provided on the proposed training facilities upgrade at Bready CC. NWCU has recently submitted a funding application which also covers programme and capital investments across five other NWCU club grounds.
  • Sports Capital Programme: an update was provided on the outcomes of the latest round of Sports Capital and Equipment fund where cricket received €490K in funding for equipment, involving 11 clubs, two Provincial Unions and Cricket Ireland being recipients.

HIGH PERFORMANCE PROGRAMMES

The Board received an initial report on the recent ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, outlining preparations, planning and performance at the event. While a disappointing campaign, the main positive from performances in the last 6-12 months were that our rankings rose to 11th, and has meant that we gain automatic entry to the 2026 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in India/Sri Lanka.

The Board will receive the full review findings at its September meeting.

Further updates and reports received included:

  • Zimbabwe Test Match: a report was provided on the planning for the upcoming match. Cricket Ireland has been working with the NCU and NWCU on leveraging the historic Test Match to build better political and community relationships.

PARTICIPATION GROWTH

The Board received a detailed update of participation across the sport, which included:

  • National Programmes: increased investment in resources and funding has resulted in growth in participants, clubs engaged and exposure.
  • Coach Education: growth in women coaches across Ireland has been the fastest growing demographic, with a 600% increase in Core Coach participants. We anticipate greater investment in women’s coaching over coming years, with the aim of having female coaches working within PU and National teams set ups in 2026.
  • On the Front Foot: back for a fourth year, OTFF continues to empower and engage females in the sport as leaders. To date, over 30 women have advanced their leadership roles in cricket, impacting the sport at various levels, from local clubs to the international game and national governance. This network of women is not just leading on the field but in all aspects of cricket – as coaches, administrators, referees, activators and at governance and Board level. Sukhi Byrne, Munster Cricket’s nominee on the CI Board, was among the first cohort of OTTF graduates.

OTHER MATTERS ADDRESSED

Other matters covered at the meeting included:

  • Staffing changes: a number of new roles and replacements were advised, and details were provided around a reorganisation of roles and responsibilities.
  • Sub-Committee updates: The Board approved the composition of its sub-committees for 2024-25. Sub-committees support the work of the Board and management to undertake more detailed, in-depth work, and to make appropriate recommendations to the Board.
  • Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Strategy update: the strategy is in its final draft stage and will be launched in 2024.
  • Transgender Policy Development: Cricket Ireland is in the preliminary stages of developing a transgender and non-binary participation policy. This policy aims to ensure that transgender and non-binary individuals are included and treated fairly within the sport.

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