A History of the Northern Cricket Union Challenge Cup 1887-2011
Clarence Hiles
Clarence Hiles
Hiltop Publications Ltd, 2011
Softback, 550pp.

Price: £20.00

A History of the Northern Cricket Union Challenge Cup 1887-2011 is a masterpiece of research and chronicles the competition that has been the heartbeat of NCU cricket for 125 years. The publication has been completed to coincide with the Unionís 125th Anniversary Celebrations and is a fitting tribute to past and present players and administrators.

The book is a voluminous 552-page treasure for local cricket enthusiasts and is packed with details of over 2,000 cup matches since 1887 including the cup final scorecards. Virtually every year has photographs of the winners. It also includes caricatures of former players and ten beautiful colour sketches of the top grounds.

The Appendices list all the top performers including all century makers and bowlers who have taken seven wickets in a match. There is also a comprehensive list of all the umpires.

Review by Ian Callender, 20 October 2011

History of the Northern Cricket Union Challenge Cup 1887-2011 is out in print thanks to the efforts of the indefatigable Clarence Hiles. Eight years after writing the History of Senior Cricket in Ulster he has produced the definitive story of the NCU's major cup competition.

In a voluminous 552-page book, Hiles has written a chapter on all 125 years with the scores of every match and the scorecards of every final. Remarkably, he has found photographs of almost every winning team, including the first! and in a comprehensive records section, he lists every individual century in the competition (there have been 219) and the 75 bowlers who have taken eight or more wickets in an innings (plus the next best 85 who have taken seven).

The top 40 totals, from North Down's 500 in 1893, are listed side by side with the lowest totals (St Columb's Court, all out for 8 in 1902, top that list).

Hiles has also traced the umpires of all but seven of the119 finals (there was no competition during the Great War and the 1890 and 1901 deciders were never played) and all 23 hat-tricks are also listed.

As outgoing NCU president Dr Murray Power says in a message: 'I challenge any reader not to find something fresh or surprising within its pages'.