Major plans in place to increase the playing pool in Munster cricket

Major plans in place to increase the playing pool in Munster cricket
Cricket again in 2018 between County Kerry and Cork Harlequins at the Oyster Oval, Tralee. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

THE first cricket match of the season took place in Guernsey last week, a friendly between two select teams.

There were no less than 84,000 views on YouTube, where it was streamed, but it gave everybody hope that it’s only a matter of time before other countries can do the same.

When it comes to youth cricket there may be options to play sooner than adults but what you can be sure of is that the younger age groups were the hardest hit of all the cricketing fraternity.

Adult players have at least had their chance to play youth cricket in their day but the young players in all clubs must be wondering about this new world we live in.

Munster Cricket Union Youth Co-ordinator, John Buss was quick to sympathise with all youngsters in the province.

“I feel so sorry for them all. We were in the middle of our most detailed offseason programme ever with huge buy-in from all the players and parents and had just finished finalising our summer fixtures list when Covid hit,” Buss said.

“It’s a shame really because huge effort went into the sessions by everyone but we’re not sure when and what will be left to play when we do get back.”

He was very optimistic, however, about the future and one of the main reasons is an increase of 40% in playing numbers over the last three years.

“As well as us competing in the U15 and U17 interpros, newly-formed U13, U15 and U17 club leagues were set up to meet the demand from the increase in playing numbers,” Buss said.

“We have entered two teams into the Leinster Cricket Union (LCU) Colts league, one from Cork County and one from the rest of Munster and The Harlequins Hurricanes have entered the U19 LCU league.

“All these new ventures, as well as the ongoing softball blitzes for U11s, were sure to mean the MCU’s most successful season ever when it came to the topic of activity. We’ll just have to hope that we can get the majority of this concluded in a shorter time frame,” continued the West Cork man.

It’s unclear what the priority will be once youth cricket returns, but hopefully, the focus will be on local leagues and being as creative as possible to ensure maximum participation for all age groups.

The thought of having teams travelling from different parts of the country might not be the safest initially, which will mean a big emphasis on youth cricket in Cork, which is just what it needs.

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