One of the oldest and most famous clubs in North West cricket has admitted defeat and withdrawn from the league.
Limavady, the three-time Irish Cup winners, have been playing junior cricket for the last six years after dropping out of senior cricket because of financial problems, and after battling to survive in the junior leagues have finally had to call it a day.
Ivor Lapsley, their last captain, said: “We’ve been struggling for a while to get a team out week to week, to be completely honest.
“It was a bit of a struggle to get to the end of the season but we plugged on and decided that we would sit down and look at the situation realistically when this summer was over.
“That’s exactly what we did and the fact is, we just don’t have anything like the numbers to keep going. It’s a massive disappointment but we had to be realistic. It’s the end of an era.”
The rugby club had dominated the sports club at the John Hunter Memorial Grounds for some years, despite being only founded in 1968, some 112 years after the town’s cricket club, and subscription fees of £125 for playing in Qualifying League 2 were just too much for the cricketers.
Limavady won seven successive Premier League titles from 1994 to 2000 and shared the championship with Strabane in 2009, just three years before their self-imposed demotion. The highlight was the treble-winning team of 1997 when they also won the Senior Cup and Irish Cup with a team which included internationals Decker Curry, David Cooke, Gordon Cooke, Ricky McDaid plus Roger Kerr and Ian McGregor, legends of the club.
Meanwhile, Paul Stirling was yesterday drafted into another Twenty20 competition, the Mzansi Super League in South Africa, which gets under way on November 16.
Stirling was the overseas pick by Paarl Rocks, led by South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, with West Indian Dwayne Bravo as their marquee player.
Ireland’s big-hitting opener is currently playing in the Afghanistan Premier League but has scored just 63 runs in seven matches, with his 20 from 13 balls yesterday his top score for Kandahar Knights.
The Knights’ four wickets win — with a leg bye off the last ball — means they can still make the semi-finals with victory in their final round-robin game today, live on Freesports (1pm).