CRICKET: Donaghcloney and Millpark on course for merger

Paul McCart. Pic by Edward Byrne.

Paul McCart. Pic by Edward Byrne.

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Donaghacloney and Millpark took a significant step towards a merger between the Northern Cricket Union clubs this week with an unanimous vote by both sets of members.

A working committee will be formed at a forthcoming Annual General Meeting to establish the numerous logistics but dual votes on Wednesday led to confirmation of the first - and most important - phase.

Donaghcloney's The Factory Ground. Pic by Diane Magill (Village Lives).

Donaghcloney's The Factory Ground. Pic by Diane Magill (Village Lives).

Initial proposals have suggested the name of Donaghcloney Mill, with the club’s firsts to play in Section One but the plan to maximise playing opportunities across The Factory Ground and Banford Green sites for youth and senior sides.

The merger has been described by representatives from both clubs as “mutually beneficial”.

“We see this as a real positive,” said Millpark’s Paul McCart. “Links have always been amicable due to the geography.

“The reality is we have been struggling over the past few years and spent time looking into a variety of options to help the club avoid having to fold.

“We held discussions with other teams for advice but, once aware of merger talks between Lurgan and Victoria, that helped to firm up the idea of it as an option.

“We are excited about the chance to work together and the long-term potential for cricket in the region.

“It was an unanimous vote, with a few members opting to abstain, so now we will look at how to continue to move forward.

Donaghcloney’s Keith Ogle has cited future stability as central to the unanimous vote.

“Our development work at youth level has been a real success in recent years and this merger would increase the chances for children to play the sport,” said Ogle. “The two venues will provide chances for a routine of regular Saturday cricket, which is so important to the stability of youth development.

“We can help each other and the forthcoming AGM will allow us to finalise a lot of the talking points.

“Ultimately, it is about keeping the sport as strong as possible in the area.”