I'm not in love
So don't forget it
It's just a silly phase I'm going through
And just because
I call you up
Don't get me wrong,
Don't think you've got it made
I'm not in love, no no,
I like to see you
But then again
That doesn't mean you mean that much to me
So if I call you
Don't make a fuss
Don't tell your friends about "the two of us"
I'm not in love, no no,
10CC I’m Not In Love…
I decided in 2022 that I wouldn’t go and watch any of the home international games played by Ireland Men. There were a number of reasons: no games in the North West, work/family commitments, holidays, and hotel prices in Dublin. Those and the fact that there’s ‘an atmosphere’ when I and the guys from CricketEurope attend Cricket Ireland events. It’s been bubbling along for years but in recent times it’s become a not very enjoyable experience.
Therefore I decided to give myself peace, and concentrated my efforts primarily into club and interpro cricket, covering the international game remotely, or using Ian Callender. The strategy paid off in that by any of the various metrics we use to measure our audience, we enjoyed our best year ever.
That’s a great feeling. Despite the challenges, obstacles and hostilities that come our way, we still have a loyal and dedicated following, which is indeed growing.
2022 saw me redeem myself somewhat from my “you will win nothing with kids/Alan Hansen” moment when I reckoned mobile phone usage for following cricket wouldn’t amount to anything 10-15 years ago. Luckily for me, John Elder thought otherwise and continued to develop that side of the site which year on year grows and is now dominant.
We came up with the idea this year of having a centralised ‘Final Score’ area with scores, reports, photos, audios etc from all the leagues in one place. The information was out there of course in various places, but instead of having to trawl through the murky waters, it could be accessed in one location. It proved a massive success thanks to the efforts of all the team, and John E has been busy revamping, tweaking and expanding various elements which no doubt will makes things better and easier in 2023.
With so many of the games live-streamed or on television, we were able to provide quite a bit of ball-by-ball coverage throughout the year, and despite initial reservations, that’s how I found myself getting up in the middle of the night to cover games during the recently concluded T20 World Cup. The tournament started in all too familiar terms and after a loss to Zimbabwe, Ireland looked to be heading out when their backs were to the wall in the match against Scotland. However, we all know what happened next, and from then on their tournament fortunes were transformed.
I still can’t quite believe how they beat England – deservedly so – and while Andrew Balbirnie may make some bizarre calls, his decision to bowl Fionn Hand against Ben Stokes gets him a barrowload of credit in my books.
That win over England confirmed to me one thing. I still love and care about Irish cricket. At all levels.
It saddened me to hear from various media outlets that Ireland had become one of, if not the, least liked teams in world cricket before this tournament. They had earned a reputation for being taciturn and grumpy. I suppose it’s hard to smile when you are losing, but thankfully the tournament just past saw them acquit themselves excellently and I thought the players who spoke did so with passion and eloquence – especially, the captain.
I see now that eight of the side are in various franchise league action this month. Josh Little has a real chance of an IPL deal, and there’s no doubt he is the jewel in the crown. There will be concerns over the quality and variety of the attack, especially on unhelpful pitches, but hopefully those concerns can be addressed over the coming year when there will be a return to Test cricket, four tours and the likelihood of having to play in T20 and 50 over World Cup qualifiers.
SOUND OF SILENCE
The absence of any official comment from Cricket Ireland about the recent Abbotstown development announcement by Sport Ireland would on the face of it seem to suggest they aren’t exactly enamoured by it.
Warren Deutrom had been very vocal in the lead up, extolling their merits, and to be fair to the teams they had provided perfect timing with headline grabbing wins against England for the men, and Pakistan by the women.
It did provide me with a laugh when a Sinn Fein TD stood up and asked a question in the Dail about the stadium asking the Minister what was happening… They say if you live long enough you see everything. That certainly fitted into this category..
Alas, it would appear that they will have to wait, despite their protestations about the need for it ahead of their co-host role for the 2030 T20 World Cup.
It may be time to revisit their plans and adopt a dual track approach. The fans love Malahide, and surely it makes economic sense for all to develop permanent facilities there of some sort?
It was great to see three North West players named in the Ireland U19 girls/women squad for the World Cup next month. Well done to the Eglinton duo of Jenni Jackson and Zara Craig, plus Coleraine’s Kia McCartney. It should be a great tournament and we will be following their and the rest of the squad’s fortunes in South Africa.