NWCU Board Update
The Board of North West Cricket Union held a ‘virtual’ board meeting last week (Thursday 16th April) to discuss a number of items including finance, staffing, operations and a range of scenarios for the domestic season.
Key points from the meeting are summarised below:
The Board acknowledged the difficult task of scheduling a potential cricket season with so many unknowns and it is unclear when cricket activity may resume. When cricket does resume it is also unclear what restrictions will be in place and what social distancing measures must be adhered to. The Board is clear however, that player, umpire and volunteer safety must be paramount in all decision making and any government guidelines must be followed in full.
The Board has reviewed a number of proposals for the domestic season and is working on contingency planning around possible starts dates in June, July or August. The NWCU will continue to work with the relevant authorities, other Provincial Unions and Cricket Ireland to determine what the best options for domestic cricket are. The Board recognises the desire from clubs and players to play cricket this season and we will communicate these plans with clubs and other stakeholders once we are in a position to do so.
Finance and Staffing
The Board welcomed the continuing support of Cricket Ireland and their commitment to continuing all regular payments to the NWCU, which help cover running costs including administrative and development officers, rental subsidies and game development programme funding. Nevertheless, these remain challenging times for the Union and a range of cost-saving measures have been introduced.
Alongside other cost savings, the NWCU have placed a number of staff on furlough whilst General Manager, Peter McCartney, will take a 20% pay reduction for April and May.
The NWCU will continue to support clubs through regular communications and staff will be using a number of online tools in the coming weeks to stay in touch with clubs, offer guidance, and support. Staff will also be working on a number of key projects with Cricket Ireland participation staff to help grassroots and the club game.
Peter McCartney, General Manager of NWCU, said:
“We are trying to keep clubs as informed as possible with updates on funding, financial support and online resources. The obvious question from clubs is when are we playing cricket again? This is a complex area and we are working with Cricket Ireland, the other Provincials Unions and taking guidance from both Sport Ireland and Sport NI. There are a huge amount of uncertainties; however once we have a clearer picture of what the season may look like we will communicate this to clubs as soon as possible.
Financially, like all sporting organisations at the moment, it is a challenging time and we have taken some necessary cost-saving measures. These measures have been taken in the best interests of cricket. It is important that when restrictions are lifted, cricket in the North West is in a position to come back strong and recover quickly.
The development and coaching staff have done some fantastic work over the last 12 months, with a number of key projects planned for the summer months especially around our school partnerships, Smash It and our women & girls programmes. Combined with the high-profile fixtures against New Zealand in Bready, it was shaping up to be a memorable summer for cricket in the North West. Unfortunately, the programmes are on hold and the fate of the New Zealand series still unclear but I have no doubt that these are only temporary set-backs and the steps we have taken to date will prove successful in the long-term.”
Brian Dougherty, Chairman, NWCU:
“During these challenging times the Union have been communicating consistently amongst the board, staff, clubs and Cricket Ireland as well as government authorities, to help provide as much support as possible both in terms of financial impact and also in planning ahead for the season if and when any cricket is possible. We will continue to put our clubs at the forefront of any decision-making process and urge them to continue to liaise with us in the days and weeks ahead.”