Indian Test star drops in for flying visit
INDIAN TEST STAR DROPS IN FOR FLYING VISIT
Whilst the war of words continued last week over the destination of the league title, there was some let up at least as the North West welcomed one of the top players in the world at present to our shores for a flying, if busy visit. Indian Test star VVS Laxman was in town for a couple of days, the guest of Bobby Rao and his itinerary took him to Bready to see the new Centre of Excellence and to Eglinton to see the home ground of his former mentor.
Laxman participated in a question and answer session at the Village ground as the club’s young players got a chance to quiz him about his own formative years and he took the opportunity to personally endorse the efforts of Rao.
“I have played under many of the top coaches in the world but I have to tell you that when I need advice I call or email the man you call Bobby, but that I know as “sir”. I cycled 12 miles to sir’s coaching sessions in Hyderabad when I was a young boy and his passion rubbed off on me. I can see in front of me many of you who love cricket and I know that if you work with him and listen to him he will make you the best that you can be. I know many of the boys here today would like to go on to play professional cricket but to do that you have to work very hard. If you don’t have the facilities to practice every day then play as much as you can and simply work on your technique, even if the only way to do that is in front of a mirror”.
The not-so-young got their chance to engage the great man as well and there were several suggestions that he might want to come back around the end of April next year and stay until September! Laxman though refused to speculate although he obviously enjoyed the banter but he told me in confidence afterwards that if he were to turn Eglinton into title contenders he would have to bring Tendulkar and Yuvraj with him.
Up the road at Magheramason the Test player was visiting a Bready club that has just completed an amazing feat this year by capturing all the Intermediate league titles. Please bear with me as I explain this but their seconds won Intermediate 1, the thirds Intermediate 2, the fourths Intermediate 3 and their fifth team, only formed in 2008, won Intermediate 4.
Throw into the mix that the boys’ team completed a league and cup double and you can see that it was only the senior team that let the side down. Within that feat it also has to be noted that the thirds went through the league season unbeaten, the second successive year they have done so. There may well be a case for Kenny Allen’s team to take their chances in Division 1 next season and give Ted’s boys a breather!
To be serious though that is some achievement for any club and when you consider Donemana’s efforts in the underage All Ireland competitions it is proof, if proof were needed that investment in youth and infrastructure can have a massive impact on the future of a club.
And speaking of Donemana, what a bizarre situation regarding their Under-16’s last week as the Holm youngsters claimed another All-Ireland title for their club. If you think that the Limavady and Strabane situation takes some unraveling however, then this one isn’t far behind it. I can’t claim to have an in-depth knowledge I must confess but from what I can gather, the format of the All-Ireland competition is that the regional cup winners then play-off against each other for the All-Ireland title.
Because of the poor weather and other distractions however, when it came the North West’s winners’ time to play the Leinster winners, the regional decider here between Donemana and Coleraine had still not been played so there was no way of telling which of the sides would face Merrion.
The Derry Midweek League (as it is they and not the North West who administer boys cricket) subsequently “nominated” Donemana to represent them as winners and the Holm lads duly travelled to Dublin and brought the cup home. When you stick your neck out like that however, and your decision is franked, the last thing you need is to push your luck and play the match retrospectively. The original North West final was then played last week and Coleraine only went and won it, leaving one or two red faces on the Derry Midweek League committee.
I know we’ve since heard all the arguments that Donemana had to play the match straight after their Dublin trip and they had a player or two missing and I’ve even heard the reasoning that Donemana’s boys would win such a game 99 times out of 100 in normal circumstances but none of that matters one iota.
Everyone knows how good a side Donemana are and I have to say as well that there is no doubt either that they are deserving All Ireland champions but the simple truth is that by playing the game after “nominating” winners, anything other than a Donemana win was going to make a mockery out of the original decision.
Coleraine may well feel that the Derry Midweek League’s decision gave them the squeeze they needed to put on a show but in a season like the one we’ve just had you get to the stage where you feel that nothing will surprise any more.
Anyway, it will be all over within the next few days one way or t’other and for the next couple of weeks we’ll review the seasons in both Divisions of the Billy Henderson leagues and pick our team of the year in each section starting next week with Division 2.