Board of Cricket Ireland endorses fixtures, considers facilities, participation and funding support
April 5th 2023 by Craig Easdown | International, Other
CORK – The Board of Cricket Ireland met last week in Cork - amongst a host of items discussed, the Board endorsed new fixtures, heard from Ireland Women’s head coach Ed Joyce and captain Laura Delany, discussed progress on the new Facilities Strategy under development and supported a proposal to explore the potential involvement of a Northern Ireland women’s cricket team in a future Commonwealth Games qualification process.
The meeting was held in Munster as part of a Board Meeting rotation programme which sees Directors visiting and hearing from voices within the sport around Ireland. Brian MacNeice, Chair of Cricket Ireland, explained:
“The Directors were delighted to visit Cork and are thankful to the staff and volunteers of Munster Cricket Union for the warm welcome and support in hosting the Board’s meeting and associated activities in Munster.
“This meeting was part of a rotation programme that has the Cricket Ireland Board hold its bi-monthly meetings in different provincial unions throughout the year – not just to meet, but to engage with provincial staff, club members, volunteers and various grassroots stakeholders to better understand the challenges, opportunities and recognise the successes of the sport first-hand. Our first such meeting in February was in the North West, and included club visits and a club forum. Likewise, last week there was a combination of club visits, a club forum with clubs across the Munster region, and meetings with the MCU Board.
“As the organisation navigates its way through a period of change and growth over coming years, it will be even more crucial for key decision-makers to have the full understanding of the state and the needs of cricket across the island at every level of the game.”
The Board received updates on a range of programmes and events relating to grassroots and club support, including:
On the Front Foot: 11 graduates recently completed Cricket Ireland’s latest women’s leadership programme; Cricket Ireland’s Chair, CEO and Participation Director attended an open forum on the last day of the course. This is the second iteration of this programme and the Board committed to continued support for this programme to ensure we develop future female leaders across all strands of the game.
Development Officers: investment into Provincial Unions to support the delivery of National Junior Programmes has continued in 2023 with PUs utilising the Cricket Ireland Programme Support Grant to increase the number of Development Officers on the ground. Cricket Leinster have recruited two Programme Coordinators, while Northern Cricket Union and North West Cricket Union are recruiting a dedicated development officer each who will lead on programmes and Cricket Connects.
Cricket Connects: Cricket Ireland continues to roll out Cricket Connects across Ireland with thanks to continued support from both Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland. – most recently in the NWCU and NCU with additional support of funding from the Rank Foundation. Cricket Ireland has also partnered with CARA, Sport Inclusion Ireland to deliver a Disability Inclusion Training module. Furthermore, Cricket Ireland has recently partnered with City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB) and will deliver Cricket Connects training to 15 tutors.
All Ireland Youth Competitions: Following on from the Under-13 and Under-15 Youth All Ireland Finals in 2022, planning is underway to deliver girls and boys Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 finals in 2023 including teams from CL, MCU, NCU and NWCU regions. The intention for 2023 is to build on the experience of 2022 with the support of the PUs in streamlining the age categories and encouraging age-grade finals days for girls and boys to take place mid-August with additional support to be provided with respect to hosting, travel and visibility.
European Cricket League: CIYMS represented Irish cricket at this year’s ECL, finishing third and providing numerous memorable highlights. The involvement of Irish club sides continues to provide an incredible cricket experience for players involved and engagement of fans.
The Board heard that Cricket Ireland has received €8,500 from Sport Ireland to deliver on the ‘Her Moves’ campaign in 2023. Her Moves, a new national campaign, speaks to inactive teenage girls or those at risk of drop out, reframing what sport is, opening their eyes to more opportunities and encourages girls to embrace sport and physical activity – sharing their experiences with friends. Running between March and October, CricHIIT (a fitness programme designed to combine exercise with cricket skills) will be delivered in Donegal by Activator Emma MacBeth and Cork and Limerick by Activator Fiona Hayes. Both women will be supported by Cricket Ireland and the LSP’s in each region to promote the programme
Facilities Strategy updates
The Board received an update on the progress of the development of a National Facilities Strategy. A Steering Group has been established to oversee the Strategy development comprising members from all provincial unions and a cross-departmental cohort from Cricket Ireland staff. The engagement process for developing the strategy to date has included:
• In-depth interviews with key stakeholders including the Men’s and Women’s National Head Coaches, representatives of the Grounds management community, staff from Cricket Ireland and each of the Provincial Unions in addition to Sport Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland, the Department of Sport’s Capital Unit and representatives from local authorities; and
• A facilities survey with clubs, shared through the Provincial Unions, completed by 74 of the 121 Clubs so far.
Related developments within the facilities scope were also discussed that Cricket Ireland was engaged with, including the Northern Ireland Civil Service Sports Association (NICSSA) redevelopment Master Plan, Sport Ireland Campus master plan (which includes a cricket stadium, indoor training centre and associated facilities) and the Shared Island Sports Club EV Charging Scheme (11 clubs submitted their interest).
The Board was also updated on supports Cricket Ireland will be providing for clubs with the impending announcement of a new round of Sports Capital Grant funding in ROI. The Board and management are targeting a significant increase in the number of clubs that apply and succeed in attracting sports capital grant funding to support our infrastructure development across the game.
High Performance updates
As part of the Board’s agenda, it:
• approved the funding of a tour to Netherlands in August (see);
• approved the funding of an Ireland Wolves warm-up match in May against Bangladesh (see);
• received an overview of recent World Cup performances – Men’s T20 World Cup, Women’s T20 World Cup and Women’s Under-19s World Cup; and
• had a detailed discussion with Ireland Women’s head coach Ed Joyce and Laura Delany to align on the future plans for the women’s game and the opportunities and challenges we face in realising our ambitions for the programme.
Commonwealth Games update
The Board approved a proposal for management to explore the entrance of a Northern Ireland women’s team in the qualification process for a future Commonwealth Games.
The Board received updates on:
ED&I: The Board noted that Cricket Ireland had engaged with the Irish Centre for Diversity through its ‘Investors in Diversity’ programme as part of Cricket Ireland’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work. Following staff surveys, Cricket Ireland achieved the Bronze level, identifying areas in which the organisation needs to improve around policy development, implementation of policies, equality and fairness. A staff Working Group has been established to develop to implement an Action Plan. A game wide survey has also been completed, alongside a number of focus groups. A Game-wide report and action plan will be developed in collaboration with Provincial Unions and Clubs in due course.
Nominations: The Board considered a range of nominations for Board and Committee positions that will now be submitted for adoption at the Annual General Meeting in May.
Furthermore, the Board received an update from the Chief Executive in relation to the outcome of the most recent ICC meetings in Dubai, including the news that he had been re-elected for a further three-year term on the ICC Women’s Committee (in addition to being a member of the ICC Chief Executives Committee).