The time has come for the Irish Cricket team to look for a major sponsor for next year's ICU Trophy in Toronto, hopefully carrying through to the World Cup 2003. Any major company, preferably a multi-national, will have his name and logo prominently displayed on the front of shirts/sweaters throughout the season and in Toronto and will continue right through to the world-wide televised stages in 2003. What an opportunity for a sports-minded company! The cost to the ICU of next year's exercise will be approximately £80,000 and will therefore need a major effort in fund raising. Anyone reading this article who may be interested, at whatever level, please contact me.
Recently I watched North Down play Merrion from Dublin in their re-arranged Royal Liver Irish Cup match. I was there in the company of Irish coach Ken Rutherford, ostensibly to watch our younger Irish players, Andrew White, Ryan Haire and Peter Shields of North Down and Dominic Joyce of Merrion. However the outstanding player of the day was Ryan's father, Robin Haire, and we were often told by many North Down supporters that we had picket the wrong Haire for the Irish team despite Robin being in his mid forties. They may well be right. Robin got his 3 caps in 1986 on the tour of Zimbabwe when he was a left arm spinner who batted a bit. In fact in one game he scored 40. As his spin bowling waned, Robin took batting more and more seriously and he was a regular on NCU representative teams. He certainly never got the number of caps to which he was entitled. Is it too late now? It would be the first time a father and son played on the same Irish team.
Recently I visited Downpatrick's magnificent new clubhouse. As everyone knows, the international grounds pavilion was burned to the ground two years ago. The new edifice would put to shame most roadhouses or hotels. However, because of the lack of facilities for two seasons, Downpatrick have lost the NCU Senior Cup Final and international matches - major sources of revenue. The new facility, which includes fitness room, indoor nets, function room for 300, kitchen, bars and changing rooms, is ideally suited for big events and the club needs them, for the upkeep of the new Downpatrick is enormous. I implore all cricket lovers to go and see it and give it their support.
Cricket fans in Ulster will have been following the progress of Sussex since a televised match against Worcester at Hove featuring the debut behind the stumps of Cliftonville's Andy Patterson. He has played in almost every game since then, claiming victims by the match but unfortunately scoring very few runs. After their last match he was dropped and his contract discontinued.
Andy was brought along to indoor nets by Mike Hendrick in his first month as Irish coach to make up the numbers, but created such an impression that he was soon a fully-fledged member of the Irish squad. His efforts for Ireland attracted the attention of Surrey and he soon joined brother Mark on the Oval staff. He was released after two seasons and played club cricket in the London area for a while before joining Sussex. He now says that he has given county cricket a fair run and will return to Cliftonville in the near future and will be available for Ireland from now on. He will certainly strengthen the squad.