The announcement on Friday morning of the end of Creevedonnell Cricket Club's 62-year association with the North West Cricket Union certainly prompted plenty of reaction from the local fraternity.

The Curryfree Road side were known to be struggling over the past couple of seasons but even so it came of something of a shock when they decided to call it a day this weekend.

Club stalwart, and a man who has battled for Creevedonnell's cause for the past 30 years, Brian Dougherty, quickly quashed suggestions on social media that the blame lay squarely at the feet of the NWCU committees.

"It has been a surreal few days but I want to make it clear from the outset that we don't blame the North West. They have been very helpful and always obliged us in anything we asked for in terms of guidance and coaching resources.

"It's a moot point now as far as Creevedonnell are concerned but if I could have changed one thing from a Union perspective it would have been the refusal to facilitate a 10-team Championship a couple of seasons ago.

"The fact is that it is very difficult to attract players; especially located where we were, but doubly difficult when we couldn't offer them senior cricket, or a viable chance of earning senior cricket.

"It is almost impossible for a side like us or Sion or Limavady to win Qualifying 1 given the player options available to other clubs in the league. It is no coincidence that these clubs are now all struggling. A much more sensible option would surely have been to create a third tier with one promotion and relegation place between that and the Championship. It is vital to their existence that clubs have a chance to hold on to their better players but that's not the case at the moment.

"It's a very sad day for everyone associated with Creevedonnell and I would like to personally thank the hundreds of people who have voiced their support on social media and in private messages.

"I would however like to make it very clear that there were a lot of people who were invaluable to our club. People like Tommy, Sadie and Kylie McGarrigle who gave endless amounts of their time. Lee Williamson, Don and Alwyn Dougherty and Chris Dunn are others deserving of a mention as of course was Ivan Dougherty who allowed us to use the ground.

"It's so ironic that the end has come at a time when structurally we were in great shape. We had a really strong committee and were financially sound as well, however we will now put those resources to good use.

"We'll happily look to give the mower and roller to a good home and in terms of finances we will talk to Peter McCartney soon about setting up a "Creevedonnell Bursary"- a fund aimed at helping young players selected to play representative cricket who might not be able to pay the parental contribution.

"We feel that would be as good a way as any to maintain a legacy of our time here." "Again I'd like to reiterate that the club isn't looking to blame anyone. The simple fact of the matter is that we have little or no catchment area and these are very difficult times to attract youngsters into our game."

It's difficult to argue any of Brian's points if truth be told. Creevedonnell is a big loss to the Union given that they were a Premiership club but for me personally because they epitomised everything that is unique about North West Cricket.

My feelings are of disappointment at losing a really good club.

My fear is they won't be the last.

LM