What We Do
The White Stick Trophy - Paddy's History
Each time we got together over a few pints the topic would re-emerge and enthusiasm would be rekindled, only to fade away in the cold light of the next day. Liam Keegan, however, was not to be denied and in 1989 an official challenge was issued to the then Chairman of NICUA, Dai Jones - and was accepted. Dai asked his Vice-Chairman, Paddy O'Hara, to select a team to travel to Clontarf CC in Dublin for this first 'Umpires International'.
The preparations were in full flow when, walking through a shopping mall, Paddy spotted a walking stick with a gold duck's head - the perfect trophy! He bought it there and then, took it home, painted the stick white, mounted it on a mahogany stand and had it suitably inscribed. The 'White Stick Trophy' had been born.
A party of 17 headed south on a dry, fine morning. On arriving at Castle Avenue, Clontarf, we were received and fortified with the Keegan's Irish stew and several 'half-uns' of Irish whiskey before hostilities got underway. With a surplus of players, and Leinster being one short, we generously agreed to allow one of our number, Derek Adams, to bat for LCUA - a decision we were later to regret!
The LCUA skipper called correctly and 'invited' NICUA to have first knock. In our allotted 35 overs we registered a reasonable 144 for 7, with Paddy O'Hara (53) and Davy McCullough (26) being the main contributors. In reply, NICUA steadily worked their way through the home batting until they were staring defeat in the face at 98 for 8. Of this 'guest' Adams, now referred to as 'Adams the Traitor', top scored with 35. However, a magnificent unbeaten 9th wicket partnership between Stan McCready (34) and skipper Joe Connolly (17*) steered LCUA safely home. Billy Ross was NICUA's most successful bowler with 5 for 53.
Match 2 at the Mall, Armagh proved to be a real nail biter, but ended in another Leinster victory, this time by 3 wkts and off the last ball of the match.
Inserted, NICUA scored 149 for 8 off 35 overs with Beattie Arlow top scorer with 43 – the first and only LBW victim to date. LCUA used 10 bowlers in the innings.
In reply Leinster were once again wobbling at 53 for 5 but a great partnership by Prior (64) and Ford (51*) brought the score to 148 with 1 over to go. Paddy O’Hara brought himself on and so nearly conjured an unlikely win. Top scorer Prior bowled off the 1st. ball, skipper Connolly bowled off the 5th. , but Brennan contrived 2 runs to Peter Lunney fielding the gully - off the final ball!!!!!
Match 3 was held at Merrion C.C. LCUA won the toss for the 3rd time in a row and again NICUA were batting in a match reduced by rain to 28 overs (but no D/L!) 138 for 5 was a good score with 37 apiece for JE McCall and Ian Johnston and once again our top scorer – McCall – LBW. Is this some cunning Leinster plan?
Leinster raced away in reply - 64 without loss in 7 overs. But when Dickie Spence was stumped by Pete Reith for a blistering 44 the rot set in and LCUA were bowled out for 114 to give NICUA an unlikely 1st. win in the series. Derek Adams and Billy Ross shared 9 wickets.
Beattie Arlow - now Beattie Arlow B.E.M. scored no runs nor took any wickets, leaving us all wondering what he had got the gong for!!
Match 4 was back at the Mall and guess what? LCUA win the toss again, but this time bat. Two run outs, a retired hurt skipper and George Wilson’s 4 for 16 demolished them for the lowest score so far 104 all out. John Boomer’s careful 45* with lots of singles saw NICUA past the post for a 6 wkt win. George Wilson was the LBW victim this time – that’ll teach him to take 4 wickets!!
Match 5 at Clontarf CC, Dublin was played on 18th September 1993. LCUA won the toss again - 100% record. LCUA were 105 all out with Derek Adams taking 4 for 7 and Ian Johnston 3 for 19. The NICUA replied with 109 for 4, John Boomer making 32.
The feature of this match was the catching. Normally the first skill to be lost in ageing cricketers, we saw Walter Fawcett hold two superb slip catches, George Wilson take a great diving gully catch and Derek Adams nonchalantly pouching a lofty hit on the long-on boundary. For Leinster, both Dave Brennan and Roland Bradley clung on to stinging return catches.
Derek Adams was Man of the Match for a second year and Walter Fawcett got the champagne moment for his first catch, a brilliant ankle-high effort.
Match 6 was again held in Armagh on 17th September 1994. This was due in no small way to the wonderful sustenance provided by their Ladies' Committee and the Club's great hospitality. NICUA won the toss - but lost the match making the series 3 - 3. LCUA made 131 for 8 but NICUA could only reply with 115 for 8, although Jimmy McCall made 44. We batted much too slowly chasing a very modest target - heads would roll!! Man of the Match was Brian Bergin (LCUA) for his 5 for 25.
Match 7 was held at Rathmines, Dublin on 23rd September 1995. LCUA were put in and scored 102 for 8, with Richard Simpson taking 3 for 18. NICUA replied with 103 for 4, John Boomer scoring 36.
Man of the Match was Richard Simpson for his bowling, scoring 14 not out and taking 2 catches. The Champagne Moment was Paddy O'Hara winning the toss for NICUA!
Match 8 at Lisburn CC was played on September 21st 1996. This was a turning point in the series. Leinster arrived with a new skipper in Roland Bradley and they played like ruthless Aussies! For the first time, a bowler bowled unchanged throughout an innings - Joe Connolly (deposed skipper) - turning in figures of 17-3-47-5 while NICUA made 140 for 7.
What followed was slaughter. NICUA struck in the 2nd over. Alan Waugh (no relation!!) took a diving gully catch which earned him the Champagne Moment, leaving LCUA 2 for 1/ Twenty overs later it was all over - 141 for 1, with Graham Guthrie 100 not out and John Forde 31 not out. Walter Fawcett had a broken finger and Richard Simpson was in hospital with damaged knee cartilage.
Guess who was Man of the Match? The bowling figures are best forgotten about!!
Match 9 was played at Rathmines, Dublin on 20th September 1997. The LCUA made 161 for 5 - the highest score of the series. Neal Boomer took 4 for 35. The NICUA gave another poor show and only reached 125 for 7, Denis Marriott scoring 28, George Wilson 24 and Beattie Arlow 23.
Bad fielding and no urgency in the batting saw us slump to another convincing defeat - we are starting to play like England. Man of the Match was Jim McGeehan (LCUA)who scored 68 and kept an excellent wicket. The Champagne moment was Paddy O'Hara's catch to dismiss opposing skipper, Roland Bradley.
Sadly the next match, scheduled for Laurelvale CC on 19th September 1998, was cancelled due to the sudden and tragic death of Richard Simpson's elder daughter, Jillian.
Hostilities were resumed in 1999 at Laurelvale, with NIACUS, as we have now become, desperately in need of a morale-boosting victory in Match 10. Prior to this match it was discovered that the LCUA, or rather their President, Alan Tuffery, had committed a heinous crime - he lost the famous trophy as reported at the start of this story. This act of gross negligence cast a shadow over the series and, although a replica was unveiled at the 1999 match, things will never be just the same again!
The 1999 match was played in rather difficult weather conditions on 18 September at the picturesque Laurelvale ground - a strange sight with the outfield strewn with branches, leaves and twigs from the great line of trees at the river end. It was decided to play a 25 over match on the artificial pitch - the low skidding bounce made batting very difficult. NIACUS scored 137 for 9, a very satisfactory state of affairs. Jimmy McCall and Jack Curlett were top scorers with 34 apiece. There was no little hilarity when Trevor Henry was given out - LBW!
The LCUA innings started well, with Roland Bradley taking 10 off Trevor Henry's first over. Neal Boomer bowled superbly, with 6 overs for 9 runs. LCUA made just 67 for 7 in their 25 overs and NIACUS won by 70 runs, with the champagne moment being a superb catch by the North West's David Caldwell, guesting for the LCUA. Man of the match was Jack Curlett. So the series was once again tied - but the White Stick Trophy is back in its rightful place!
On to Rathmines on 23rd September 2000 for Match 11! This was a glorious victory by 9 wickets to take the lead in this vital series. This invaluable away win saw NIACUS edge in front in the Annual series. Leinster won the toss and elected to bat on a very green track. The NIACUS opening attack took full benefit, making early inroads into the top order. Trevor Henry dug one in and then a mis-hook by opening bat, Morgan, was gloved into the safe hands of debutante wicketkeeper, Bob Magee, who gave an excellent display behind the timbers. "It's just like riding a bike" he smiled.
Neal Boomer, who adjusted his sights after a huge first ball wide, bowled with great pace and hostility and clean bowled Norman Adams for 8. There was then some dogged resistance from former skipper, Joe Connolly, who made 15. Two electrifying pieces of fielding by Neal Boomer and Paddy O'Hara dispatched McEnearney and Ward and Leinster were in disarray. A double bowling change was the final nail in the coffin. Alan Waugh got turn and lift and bowled the ball of the day to dismiss Parnell for 4, while Cyril Vennard was like Scrooge, returning the remarkable figures of 4 overs, 4 maidens, 3 for 0! It was all out for 43!
In reply, 8.4 overs saw NIACUS cruise to 44 for 1. Jimmy F McCall, after three excellent boundaries, flashed at a wide one and was caught behind for 12/ Jimmy E McCall finished on 16 not out, while John Boomer was 6 not out. Due to the 9 wicket win causing an early finish, and because of the beautiful weather and the crowds, it was decided to continue batting. Highlights of this exhibition were a damaged car (courtesy of Jack Curlett), a six by new cap Andy Clement (over the Leinster pavilion), John Boomer hitting a ball off the square for the first time since Lisburn 1996, and an outstanding one handed catch on the boundary by Leinster's J Morgan.
Adjudicator, Peter White, named Cyril Vennard as the Tommy Thompson Memorial Man of the Match. Leinster Captain, Stan McCready, presented the White Stick Trophy to the victorious NIACUS Captain and then presented his champagne/brandy moment to Jimmy McCall for his shot of the day - a perfect cover drive that rocketed to the fence.
The umpires were David Caldwell and Connie McAllister of the North West Cricket Umpires Association, while the Third Umpire on the TV replays was Liam Keegan. The Scorer was Jonathan Lyttle. The Leinster Association is to be congratulated for their organisation of an excellent day - blessed with glorious sunshine. The catering, courtesy of Keegan and Co and some very hardworking Leinster CC Ladies, both at lunch and in the evening, was excellent. New skipper, Morrow McIlroy, proved to be a sporting and charming host (a big improvement on Bradley, Connolly and McCready)!
A local sponsor provided the match balls and at the post-match dinner Tommy Thompson's widow, Derry, and her daughter were in attendance. Mrs Derry Thompson made the inaugural presentation of the handsome perpetual Tommy Thompson 'Man of the Match' Award.
The only shock was the news that there was no overnight accommodation in Dublin! This resulted in a few poor sober individuals having to transport a few less than sober colleagues all the way back north in the wee small hours.
Finally, the LCUA's organisation of neutral umpires, Messrs. Caldwell and McAllister from the NWCUA, with overnight accommodation (and brown envelopes) was to no avail!
Well done, Leinster!
Captain's End of Term Report:
"I believe we are getting close to our best side. Since that black day in '97, when we were so badly trounced, the selectors have taken a strong line. Consigned to the 'dustbin of history' were some regulars who were just not performing. Out went George Wilson, Richard Simpson, Jack McCullough and Derek Adams. We have now resolved the wicket-keeping position - Bob Magee has slotted in nicely. We need another strike bowler and I still believe the top end of the batting is a bit suspect, although I can use myself in that capacity. The fielding is much improved with specialists in key positions. All things considered, I feel that we have the potential to dominate the first decade of the new millennium."
The new International venue of Civil Service hosted the 2001 tie in which Leinster were determined to once again get on equal terms with NIACUS. Saturday 29th September saw the sun shining brightly at Stormont, and a competitive match was played out before an enthusiastic band of supporters from both camps, including both Presidents - Liam Keegan (LCUA) and Arthur Thompson (NIACUS). Winning the toss, southern skipper Morrow McIlroy invited the hosts to bat. By the third over NIACUS was in disarray at 1 for 1, with Jimmy E McCall retired not out after hooking a delivery from John Andrews into his own face, and John Boomer back on the boundary as a result of a brilliant catch by wicket-keeper Rodney Smyth, off opening bowler Sean McCann.
Jimmy F McCall staged a fight back with Andy Clement in a second wicket stand of 53 before Clement was sensationally caught and bowled for 28 by former U19 International Willie Dwyer - later adjudged as the Champagne Moment. The home side was well placed at 73 for 2 when Leinster struck back in the 19th over of this 35 over match. They captured 4 wickets for a mere 7 runs, including Jimmy F McCall for 29. New caps Jareth McCready and Johnny Briggs didn't last too long, McCready caught by John Andrews off the bowling of Leinster skipper Morrow McIlroy, while Willie Dwyer bowled Briggs. A mini-recovery by Bob Magee and Jimmy E McCall, who had returned despite having broken his specs, added 14 before John Andrews, skipper of the Royal Irish Liver Cup Winners North County, bowled Magee. McCall and Henry put on another 17 before the innings slumped to 116 all out in 34.4 overs, with Trevor Henry falling to a fine diving catch at backward square leg by David Walsh. Most successful LCUA bowlers were Ward who had 3 for 16 and Dwyer with 3 for 36.
The Leinster innings was put under pressure by a fine spell of bowling by Trigger Henry who bowled his 7 overs straight through, taking 1 for 7. Vital wickets were those of Andrews (19) who was got by Vennard, Dwyer (13), who was yorked by Briggs and Clive Colleran (29) who was lbw to McCready. A stubborn stand by Colleran and Ray Cutland, when several chances were missed by NIACUS, seemed to be putting LCUA in control. Cutland then fell to a simple catch by O'Hara off Vennard and McIlroy was out to a splendid catch at square leg by Trevor Henry. Alan Waugh closed the innings in the next over by bowling David Walsh for 7. LCUA were all out for 95 and NIACUS had won by 26 runs.
Match umpires were David Caldwell and Harry Henderson from the North West, while Qualified Scorer Peter White marked the home scorebook. Joy Muir did the first innings for the visitors but struggled to come to terms with the box type scorebook and had to rely on Peter's assistance. Ernie McCormick did the visitor's book in the second innings, much to Joy's relief!
After the match the White Stick trophy was presented to a victorious NIACUS side with Andy Clement getting the Man of the Match and being presented with the Tommy Thompson Award. All the speeches referred to the absence AGAIN of NIACUS Chairman Bob Kane. Liam Keegan (LCUA President) voiced his dissatisfaction at the efforts of his side and vowed to do "whatever it takes, both on and off the field" to ensure a Leinster victory in Dublin in 2002!
Sure enough, despite winning the toss at Rathmines a year later, NIACUS could only manage to score 145 all out. There was suspicion raised about the eligibility of the 5 new Leinster players! In answer, Leinster scored 146 for 7, winning by 3 wickets with the last ball of the match! Cyril Vennard took 3 for 12 but not a single Champagne moment could be found. Tom Mooney of Leinster was awarded Man of the Match for his 20 not out and 0-13 off 6 overs.
This was to be JE McCall’s last match for NIACUS (he played 11 times) and he celebrated in style, being out for 0, first ball! PL O’Hara also finished his playing days in equally good style, although he managed to last 5 balls before being run out for 0! Paddy played in all 13 White Stick Trophy matches from 1989 to 2002.
NIACUS tried to fight back in 2003 at Comber, bringing in 7 new caps and a new Captain – Ian Houston and a new Manager – Paddy O’Hara. There was real hope of a win with players like Alan Neill, Noel McCarey and Keith Smith! Leinster won the toss, batted and scored 220 for 6 in 35 overs. Top scorer was Clive Colleran, with 81, while Joey Mooney made 50. Alan Neill and Keith Smith took their first wickets for NIACUS while Trevor Henry’s stumping of captain John Andrews off Cyril Vennard was crucial in keeping the Leinster total below 300! The NIACUS reply was nothing short of dismal, being dismissed for 121! Top scorer was Reggie McNally with 28, while Nigel Parnell took 3 for 40. The Champagne Moment was John Andrew’s diving wicketkeeper’s catch to dismiss Reggie McNally. LCUA thus won by 99 runs, a disaster for NIACUS Manager and Captain duo of O’Hara and Houston.
Fortunes were reversed at Rathmines in 2004 where NIACUS restricted LCUA to 150 for 8, with last year’s Man of the Match, Clive Colleran, bowled by Keith Smith for 34. New boy Ian Latham took 3 for 18 while Captain Alan Neill top scored with 71 not out, NIACUS winning by 7 wickets and reclaiming the Trophy. The Champagne Moment was shared between Louis Fourie for a catch to dismiss JF McCall and JF McCall took a slip catch to dismiss McCann for 11.
Match 16 was at Comber and NIACUS won the toss and elected to bat, scoring 140 for 9 in their 35 overs. Top scorer was again Alan Neill who made 56, while Kailash and Joey Mooney each lifted 3 wickets. The Leinster innings started badly, with Keith Smith dismissing captain John Andrews clean bowled for 1. However, Colleran (44) and Desai (54 and Man of the Match)) ensured that Leinster came home to win by 5 wickets. The Champagne Moment went to Willie Dwyer for a diving slip catch to dismiss JF McCall.
Match 17 found us back at North County with the sides tied at 8-8.
Tommy Mooney featured on his home turf and Kevin Gallagher made his debut in this fixture. NIACUS batted first and made 151 with Alex Adams carrying the honours. He eventually went for 58 off 75 balls and his dismissal by Mick Dwyer proved to be the Champagne Moment. Alan Neill registered a solid 23. Needing 152 to win Leinster made the winning runs in the 21st over After the game everyone a fine meal and LCU&SA President, Martin Russell presided over the final speeches.
A beautiful sunny day at Saintfield marked the 18th game of the series and conditions were ideal for another sterling battle.
NIACUS won the toss, and elected to bat. LCU&SA took the field and bowled tightly. Late stand-in Martin Russell produced the over of the day dismissing local danger man Noel McCarey who had earlier threatened to help NIACUS to a good total.
At the end of 30 overs, NIACUS had been restricted to 113 for 6, a score that LCU&SA were always going to find reachable.
Mick Dwyer scored the winning runs, giving the men from LCU&SA a 6-wicket win and the treasured possession of the White Stick Trophy for another year. Man of the Match was awarded to Joey Mooney and Joe Moore won the Champagne Moment of the game. Thanks were extended to the Saintfield club for all their hard work & hospitality
Game 19 saw the two sides gathered in North County CC once again. The day started well, and the toss was won by John Andrews who decided to bat. Feature of the innings was a fine 80 by Sameer Dutt. LUC&SA made a solid total of 168 after 30 overs with Andy Clement’s 2 for 23 off 6 overs being the pick of the NIACUS attack.
It was hoped that the NIACUS' opening partnership of Adams & Ross would cause problems but some poor running put paid to that. NIACUS were always behind the run rate and although Andy Clement and Ronnie McAlpine caused a few uneasy moments we fell short by 45 runs and the home side had won four in a row!
The LCU&SA fielding at this point was the key to their success the most competitive White Stick match for several years was over. As is the custom, the players, spectators and officials enjoyed a sumptuous repast, thanks were accorded to the hosts and everyone looked forward to match number 20. Man of the Match went to Sameer for his superb batting innings, and Champagne Moment to Alan Neill for a brilliant catch.
The White Stick has finally found its way back home to NIACUS following a great day at Downpatrick on Saturday 26th September 2009.
A fine all-round performance by Carl Williams who scored a half century and took 3 wickets helped the NIACUS to a fine 67 run victory at the Meadow. The home side’s batting was the basis for the win with the first six batmen getting into double figures. Fine scores by Alex Adams (22), Alan Neill (27) and John Wheeler (23) enabled NIACUS to amass a daunting total of 169 in their 30 overs. In reply LCU&SA could only muster 102 with Carl and Alan again to the fore taking three wickets and two wickets respectively.
Not surprisingly Carl Williams won the Man of the Match and Ronnie Balfour won the Champagne moment taking a vital catch to dismiss Sameer Dutt.
A big thank you to the host club Downpatrick for stepping in fairly late to stage the game. Once again a most enjoyable day was had by all, emphasising the continued value for this annual get-together.