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Clare Cricket Club members, Vignesh Mukundan, Farhan Javed, Gurpreet Singh and Richard Morton. Photograph by Eugene McCafferty

A fresh spin on local sport

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WITH Spring in the air, the Ballycasey based Clare Cricket Club will be getting back in action quite shortly.
Richard Morton is secretary of the club and he said that its players will begin training after Easter and it’ll soon be all go at the club grounds.
“We put down a proper, professional grade, artificial cricket strip there last year,” he said.
“We’ve reseeded the ground with proper cricket grass seed and we’re going into our second full season with our home pitch.”
While all are welcome at the club, most of the players are based in Shannon.
“We do draw members from all over Clare and increasingly fellows come up from Limerick to play with us,” said Richard.
“But it has always been based in Shannon and the core of the playing members are based in Shannon.
“We have a lot of guys who have come in from different places, like myself, and they’re working in the Shannon Free Zone and the Airport and things, which is why it’s taken off in Shannon.”
Richard is from England originally, and many of the players grew up with the game in another part of the world.
“I played cricket as a kid at school and I took a break for about 40 years,” he said.
“Someone mentioned there was a club, so I came along for a few practice games and they drew me in through that. We have guys from England, a lot from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, a lot of the Indian subcontinent nations.
“There were a few guys from South Africa who started the club, but they have moved away. The nature of it is that it can be transient, guys here one year but not the next. For this year we have signed up about 50 playing members, so we’re going to field three teams, for the first time ever. We’ll have teams in division one, two and three of the Munster League.
“There are also the cup competitions for each division as well, so pretty much from the end of April to the end of September.
“There will be matches in Shannon every Saturday and Sunday and probably this year some mid week games in high summer.”
A cricket match takes quite a long time.
“The league games are generally 40 overs aside. We start around midday and finish around six or seven o’clock. It’s a good stretch,” said Richard.
“The cup games are normally 20 overs aside. That’s a form of cricket that is growing rapidly around the world. It’s a fast game, it’s a sprint, you just hit the ball as far and as hard as you can. In the 40 over game you have more of an opportunity to build an innings and be a bit more cautious sometimes. You’d know you’ve been in a game when you’ve been out on the field for 40 overs.”
He says that one of the great things about cricket is that it offers more opportunities for participation than most field sports.
“The good thing about cricket is that it’s a very inclusive sport. I’m nearing 60 and I still play most Sundays,” he said.
“We have young fellas in their late teens or early to mid-twenties who are running around the place. We’re on the same team and all in it together. It is very welcoming and very inclusive. It’s a multicultural sport too, it appeals to a lot of age ranges and athletic abilities. It’s very rare in that regard, you can still play until your 60s or 70s and still contribute.
“In GAA you’d occasionally get a father and son playing together or a mother and daughter. In our sport you could get grandparents and grandkids. It’s great in that regard, it is very inclusive.”

Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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