The NWCU have announced details of the club season for 2020, with new T20 and T10 leagues plus youth fixtures at various age groups.
The Premiership and Championship leagues have been merged into a new T20 competition amongst all 15 senior clubs. Clubs will be split into four regionalised groups and play a round robin tournament, home and away, with teams then proceeding to the semi-finals of a cup competition depending on their finishing positions in those groups. This exciting new tournament will see all clubs compete for the 4 major cup competitions in the NWCU – the NWCU Senior Cup, Faughan Valley Cup, Sammy Jeffrey Shield and the Eric Cooke Cup.
The ‘Return to Play’ plan is still subject to approval by Cricket Ireland and Sport Ireland/Sport NI however the NWCU are hoping to get underway with Coleraine v Ballyspallen on Friday 17th July and the remaining opening fixtures on Saturday 18th July. All fixtures are due to be released on Tuesday 7th July.
|Group 1||Group 2||Group 3||Group 4|
The Qualifying Leagues will also be regionalised with 5 different groups based on a mixture of location and playing standard. The fixtures have been planned to ensure every team is guaranteed at least 6 games including a semi-final and similar to the Senior competition, the games will all be T20.
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D||Group E|
|Letterkenny||North Fermanagh||St Johnston 2||Bready 2||Killyclooney 3|
|Coleraine 2||Fox Lodge 2||Glendermott 2||Ardmore 2||Eglinton 3|
|Maghera||Burndennett 2||Killyclooney 2||Donemana 2||Ardmore 3|
|Ballyspallen 2||Sion Mills||Newbuildings 2||Eglinton 2||Bready 3|
|The Nedd||Bonds Glen 2||Brigade 2||Donemana 3|
With a shortened season, the NWCU are keen to ensure plenty of playing opportunities at all levels of the game and the midweek competitions have been revamped into two new 7-aside T10 leagues – one at senior level and one at social level.
The Women’s teams are set to play their T20 league campaign first before playing a T10 competition for the NWCU Women’s Senior Cup. League fixtures are due to start on Monday 20th July.
In a boost to the youth game, league and cups are to be played at U11, U13 and U15 levels with matches to start from w/c 20th July. There are also plans in place for regional summer camps starting later in the month.
David Bradley, Cricket Operations Manager, explained the season ahead:
From the start of fixtures planning, we wanted to ensure the NWCU created plenty of playing opportunities and we made the most of the short season ahead. We have completely revamped the competitions but it’s a format that gives players games every weekend and keeps things competitive right until the end of the season.
We have looked at all levels of the game and it’s great to see the interest in midweek and youths cricket is still strong. The new T10 format especially has proved popular amongst clubs and we felt it was important to offer both a competitive and a more social level midweek.
Full fixtures will be announced next week along with Return to Play protocols as we look forward to the 17th July and the first competitive game of cricket this summer.
NWCU Chairman, Brian Dougherty, was delighted with the prospect of cricket so soon:
It’s fantastic to finally be looking at a return to competitive cricket, however truncated. I think we have found an exciting format and much credit goes to the staff and operations committee for this.
I would like to thank the clubs too for their consistent participation in the consultation process over the past few moths. They have been excellent in adapting to the protocols to date. I ask that this continues, hope that the weather stays fair and that we see some entertaining cricket in the weeks ahead
T20 Senior Competition – Round One
|18th July||Killyclooney||v||Bonds Glen|
All fixtures are due for release on Tuesday 7th July and are subject to Return to Play approval.