Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
Waringstown’s Adam Dennison is the Cartwright Sports Premier League Player of the Year.
The opening batsman hit 1,335 runs in all competitions (875 in league/cup only) for the Villagers in a season when they claimed four trophies — the NCU Challenge Cup and T20 Cup plus the Irish Senior Cup for a record sixth time and the All-Ireland T20.
Dennison was not at the NCU’s annual dinner on Saturday night to receive the award, following the death of his grandfather, but Waringstown skipper Greg Thompson picked up his team-mate’s two awards — Dennison also won the Larry Warke Batting Cup, pipping opening partner James Hall.
Allen Coulter won the Sonny Hool Bowling Cup after taking 46 wickets for Premier League champions CIYMS in all competitions (40 in league/cup), his team-mate Chris Dougherty, with 36 dismissals, won the Dai Jones Wicket-keeping Cup and Instonians captain Andrew White claimed the Jack Bowden All-rounder Cup.
Stephen Dyer, who has taken over as Lead Coach of the NCU Under-13 side, won the John Solanky Coach of the Year.
Other individual awards were presented to Lisburn’s David Simpson, the Section One Player of the Year, Templepatrick skipper Ross Bryans, the top player in Section Two, Nikki Niblock of Premier League champions Muckamore the Women’s Player of the Year and Jennifer Hanna of Donaghcloney Mill, the Young Women’s Player.
Matthew Humphreys of Instonians was the recipient of the Hasley Cup for the Young Player of the Year.
Guest speaker at the dinner was Graham Gooch, whose 8,900 runs for England is bettered only by Alastair Cook.
Clarence Hiles, in his last duty as NCU president, welcomed the guests, who included Cricket Ireland chairman Ross McCollum, CEO Warren Deutrom, president Aideen Rice and Leinster president Derek Dockrell.
Hiles hands over the reins to Richard Johnson at tomorrow night’s AGM, when Alan Waite will be re-elected as chairman and Sam Beckett as vice-chairman.
Among the proposals, expected to be passed at the meeting, is a reduction of Section One to eight teams from the 2020 season, in line with the Premier League and matches in the second tier can be reduced to 40 overs from next summer with the agreement of both teams.