Cricket Ireland increase support for the grassroots of the game

January 10th 2013 by Cricket Ireland | International


Cricket Ireland increase support for the grassroots of the game

Nigel Jones made 34 appearances in Ireland colours

Irish cricket has received a further boost with the news that two full-time permanent development roles have been confirmed. 

Nigel Jones retires from international cricket and takes up increased development role, Jones starts immediately as Regional Development Officer - North, while Brian Allen will take a similar position in the North West from February 1st.

Both positions have been made possible by a two year grant from the ICC Europe Regional Funding Programme, with its focus on increased participation, having special emphasis on the areas of girls’ and women’s cricket.

As part of the Cricket Ireland staff, Jones and Allen will also establish new ‘super areas’, targeting places where cricket hasn’t taken a stronghold yet. They will seek to increase community coaching in schools, as well as being involved with Cricket Ireland’s under-age development programme. The increased support for grass-roots cricket in the two provincial unions is stragetically aligned with Cricket Ireland’s future plans, adding further resource to the cricketing community.

Cricket Ireland National Development Manager Tim Simmonite commented on the news :“I’m delighted that we are in a position to make both Nigel’s and Brian’s roles full time. The extension in their hours will allow further opportunity to continue the strategic development of the game in the Northern and North West Cricket Unions, and I’m extremely grateful to ICC Europe for their investment in our ongoing work. The development of these roles is another indicator of both Cricket Ireland’s and ICC Europe’s intentions for the growth of the game.” 

ICC Europe Regional Development Manager Nick Pink said: “Working alongside Cricket Ireland through our regional support programme is a great way for ICC to align our objectives to the development needs of our members. We are excited by Cricket Ireland’s further expansion and plans and wish them every success.”

In taking this full-time position, Ireland player Nigel Jones has announced his retirement from international cricket saying: “It hasn’t been an easy decision or one that I have taken lightly, but I simply now don’t have the time to commit to making myself the player that I need to be for international cricket. I’ve also sustained a shoulder injury that will require surgery at some stage.

“I have enjoyed every moment of my involvement and I feel honoured to have represented Ireland over the past three and half years.  As a player I probably never achieved the results that I was capable of, but equally I guess I was limited with the opportunities I had - that’s life!  

“I have been incredibly lucky to have played alongside some outstanding players for Ireland and I want to take this opportunity to once again thank the squad for the support with my decision and I wish them all the best for the future. I will be following Ireland’s progress from the sidelines… but from now on it will be minus the bright coloured bib!”

On his Development Officer role he continued: “I’m delighted to be offered a full-time post with Cricket Ireland - I have made no secret that this is what I have been working towards and I’m very keen to make the most of my extended role.  It is a fantastic time to be involved in the development of Cricket in Ireland and 2013 will not only be a big year for our international and inter-provincial cricketers but also for all of us that work to underpin the player pathway experience.  I feel very fortunate to be able to play a major role in this going forward.”

Jones represented Ireland 34 times, being included in the 2011 World Cup and both the 2010 and 2012 ICC World Twenty20 squads.

Ireland coach Phil Simmons paid tribute to Jones saying:“Nigel was a fantastic servant for Irish cricket. He worked incredibly hard on his game and deserved his chance in Sri Lanka after being on the sidelines in West Indies and India. He never complained and always gave 100%. Nigel was a dream to coach and I’m certain he’ll do a great job in his new role. It’s a wonderful appointment for both him and Cricket Ireland.”

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