ICC comes to rescue of Zimbabwe's Irish tour
The Zimbabwe tour to Ireland in July will go ahead in its entirety but only after Cricket Ireland chairman Ross McCollum had to go cap in hand to the ICC, the world's governing body, asking for an extra $500,000 on top of its bi-annual contributions.
Rumours that the tour, which involves three one-day internationals and three T20 internationals to be played in Stormont and Bready from July 1-14, was in doubt have been rife for weeks but it has just been revealed that it was Cricket Ireland who could not afford to stage them, following losses from last month's one-off one-day international against England and the Tri-Series with West Indies and Bangladesh.
Ticket sales were disappointing but that was compounded by Cricket Ireland being victims of an organised internet scam, which affected around half-a-dozen companies in Dublin over the last six months, taking out hundreds of thousands of euros.
"This was a one-off payment from ICC not included in our fees, explained Cricket Ireland chairman Ross McCollum.
"We had a six-figure hole to replace because of the fraud and lack of (spectator) support at the internationals and the only way to do that was to look at the possibility of cancelling the Zimbabwe tour which is going to cost half a million, with both men's and women's teams coming.
"So I approached ICC and they agreed to release some of their Full Member funding from a reputational point of view for both ourselves and themselves which wouldn't have been great (if the tour had not gone ahead).
It is the second cash crisis to hit Cricket Ireland in the last six months after CEO Warren Deutrom was forced to dip into his own pocket and loan the organisation €100,000, to help pay staff and creditors, but McCollum was keen to stress the circumstances were quite different.
"Warren's loan was a cash flow situation, and was always going to be repaid once ICC's money arrived within two or three weeks. This one, as regards the fraud, it was out of our control and, indeed, the cyber security firm we got in to look at it said it was one of the most elaborate they had dealt with it, so we were never going to pick it up.
"It's quite simple if you do not have enough money in the account you have to act and if we hadn't got assistance from ICC the Zimbabwe tour would have been called off."
Temporary stands were erected at Malahide for the ODI against England to accommodate 8,500 spectators but less than half that figure turned up.
The seven-match Tri-series, which also involved three games between West Indies and Bangladesh, including the final, was also poorly attended.
The ODIs against Zimbabwe are at Bready on July 1 and Stormont on July 4 and 7, with a T20 series to follow, the first game in Belfast on July 10 and the remaining two back at Bready on July 12 and 14.
All three T20s matches are double headers with the Women's series between the two teams.
IRISH CUP 1ST ROUND
The Green: Donemana 168 (41.2 overs, A McBrine 58, W McClintock 27, B Iqbal 27; R Pretorius 4-20, C Young 3-24) North Down 171-6 (42.4 overs, R Pretorius 92, A Shields 20). North Down won by 5 wickets.
Phoenix Park: Phoenix 382-5 (N Pretorius 94, L McDonough 79, S Singh 70, P Mehta 57 not out, B Beacroft 23; L Ritchie 3-58) Eglinton 199 (31.1 overs, S Adair 85, D McElhatton 28, M Erlank 25, J Martin 22; G Millar 5-56, B Beacroft 2-7, P Mehta 2-24). Phoenix won by 183 runs.
ROBINSON SERVICES PREMIER LEAGUE
Wallace Park: Waringstown 183 (46.1 overs, A Dennison 87, G Thompson 29, L Nelson 20; R McConkey 3-24, P Ferguson 2-16, R Strydom 2-59) Lisburn 173 (49.2 overs, R Strydom 51, M Glass 20; H Azam 4-29, G Kidd 3-37, P Eaglestone 2-18). Waringstown won by 10 runs.
LONG'S SUPERVALU PREMIERSHIP
Sandel Lodge: Coleraine 151 (38 overs, G Hume 86 not out, V Chopra 22; J Robinson 4-50, A Britton 2-6, R MacBeth 2-14, R Allen 2-35) Brigade 153-3 (30.1 overs, D Barr 52, I Hussain 39 not out, G McKeegan 32). Brigade (24 pts) beat Coleraine (1 pt) by 7 wickets.