independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Bowled away

Muhammad Asif bowling at the Oval at Sligo Racecourse. Pic Carl Brennan

Rain stopped play is a familiar term when unseasonal summer weather disrupts Cricket matches. But it took more than a few showers and a driving wind to deter Sligo Cricket Club from pressing ahead with their Open Day at Cleveragh on Saturday.

While the inclement weather certainly kept the attendance figures down, it failed to dampen the enthusiasm of those who did turn up.

And the club, which has been in existence for four years, is determined to establish Cricket as one of the county's most popular sports over the coming years.

"You have to remember that Irish football is ranked 36th in the World while Ireland is ranked 8th in the World in Cricket," Club Chairman, Paul Mercer pointed out.

"So we have a solid base to build on and we're quite encouraged by the response we've had since the club was formed"

A native of Epsom in England, home to the famous Derby horse race, Paul sees great irony in the fact that Sligo Cricket Club now have splendid new grounds at Sligo Racecourse.

"The facilities here are excellent and we're very grateful to the Borough Council and the Sligo Sports Partnership for all their support"

One of the founding members of the Sligo Club is Muhammad Asif, a native of Pakistan, who has been living in the Sligo/Leitrim area for 13 years.

"We started from small beginnings but we're making great progress," he pointed out.

"The new facility at the Racecoruse is a tremendous boost and it will help us to attract more local players.

"I visited quite a few schools around Sligo in the last week to promote the club and there was great interest among the children.

"We already have a senior team and the plan now is to establish junior and under-age teams.

"There is a thriving Connacht League with teams from Ballaghadeereen, Ballyhaunis and Galway taking part.

"We're doing quite well in the League and there are still four matches to play so we're hopeful of getting a good finish"

Azarhar Hussain is another club member who believes the club has a bright future.

"It's all about spreading the news as far as the game is concerned,", he said.

"Not a lot of people in Sligo are familiar with the game but more and more people are becoming interested in playing"

Cricket Ireland's North West development officer, Brian Allen, was on hand to help with Saturday's promotion.

"We're doing a lot of work to promote and expand Cricket in Ireland and projects like this area great help.

"I have no doubt that more and more locals will join the club and the game will become firmly established in Sligo and throughout the North West in the years to come."

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