As regards the title of this article, I have always lived on the West Bank of the city. In my cricketing days I played for City of Derry cricket club.
A club with a distinguished history, alas no longer in existence. Its decease ended cricket on the West Bank of the City.
Personally, I always enjoyed watching cricket, but fully admit to letting it slip by in recent years. Not driving, although getting buses was no trouble, the doubtful weather often overruled my departure to Beechgrove.
There were occasional days when the sun shone, but I had settled for losing a few quid (not always) on Saturday racing.
Come the start of the cricket season I was determined to go and watch cricket. Then it dawned on me - never mind getting buses to Beechgrove, I had cricket on my doorstep, a short distance away at Foyle College.
Foyle College, from last year, and for possibly this year and next (until their new ground is ready) is the playing home of Newbuildings Cricket Club. I suppose I knew they played there last year (but never gave it a thought). I was aware they played in the Championship, but reckoned the cricket would be really competitive.
However this new-found determination took me out to Foyle College one Wednesday night, and sure enough there was a midweek match on.
Not exactly my cup of tea on a dull evening, but I chatted to a few Newbuildings people about the club, about their professional etc. And lo and behold, the very next night they were at home to Strabane in a T20 match. So, what better game to make a reappearance as a spectator?
It was a dull night, and rain duly washed out the game. Strabane scored around 117, and Newbuildings were over 20 in two overs. It could have turned out a good game, but it was no night for watching cricket.
However, I was delighted to meet and chat with old cricketing friends Joe Doherty, Joe Deans and Terence Patton. Before I left I found out that on Sunday Newbuildings were at home to Terenure in the National Cup.
So, hoping for good weather I looked forward to seeing what should be a tough and competitive game.
The day dawned brilliant, and the sun shone bright for the next six and a half hours of an excellent cricket match.
It was won by 44 runs by Newbuildings, who scored 188, but not before Terenure lost a few wickets when well poised to possibly win. I could not have asked for a better return to the role of spectator.
There is no doubt in professional Peat Salmon, a long lanky Clive Lloyd figure from Jamaica, they have one of the best professionals in North-West cricket.
As distinguished Donemana cricketer Raymond Mitchell, now chairman of Newbuildings said: “He hits the ball hard.”
I hope to watch more of the hard hitting Mr Salmon as the summer progresses. I found Newbuildings team full of enthusiastic cricketers.
Along with Mitchell, officials and supporters I hope these beginnings on the West Bank will come to Premiership status in the years ahead.
Having defeated Ballyspallen, with Peat Salmon scoring a brilliant 124, Newbuildings are in a four-way tie in the championship, making the next league match against Fox Lodge an intriguing fixture.
As I write this they face a trip to the mighty Donemana in the senior cup.
I hope they put up a good show. I won’t be there, but if the fine weather holds I’ll be at the Fox Lodge game.
‘Back on the West Bank’ - sounds like a song title! I am delighted to hear the song, to see cricket on this side of the river once again (albeit for another season or so).
A thank you to Foyle College for making it possible. Weather permitting my summer’s planned out, but for anyone who likes cricket, why not call in some nice summer evening and watch the game.
If big Peat is in form, you’re sure to enjoy the match!
I have no doubt the Newbuildings players and officials would be pleased to welcome you.
It’s still a great game when the sun shines bright.