Dundrum win Downshire Cup

Dundrum win Downshire Cup

3 August 2022

THE recent return of the Downshire family to Dundrum inspired Dundrum Cricket Club to hold a friendly Twenty 20 match between the club and a Marquess of Downshire select team. 

Thursday’s contest at the Meadow was to recognise the connection between the family and the club. 

Dundrum won the toss and elected to bat with the Terry Hutley and James Martin getting away to a flying start, putting on 45 for the first wicket in only five overs. 

Some tight bowling by Rupert and George Grace (great, great, great grandsons of the cricketing legend WG Grace) saw Dundrum pegged back to 61 for four from 8.2 overs. 

Gavin McNerlin then had two solid partnerships with Rhodri Phillips and David Glover and went on to top score with 29 runs. Dundrum were all out off the final ball having scored a respectable but achievable 133.

The Marquess of Downshire team reply got off to a sparkling start with 15 coming off the first over. However, Dundrum tightened their bowling with wickets falling at regular intervals to leave the Downshire team at 63 for six after 12 overs. 

At this stage Dundrum felt confident of a win but a quick-fire 38 from Archie Robertson off 24 balls brought the Downshire team back into the game. 

In the end the Dundrum score proved to be 17 runs too many with the Downshire team finishing on 116 for nine of their 20 overs. 

Dundrum used nine different bowlers with Gavin McNerlin and father and son pairing Ian and James Wright all taking two wickets each.

Dundrum Cricket Club chairman Bobby Curlett thanked all the players for an entertaining match played in good spirits before the Downshire Cup was then presented by Lady Downshire to James Martin, the Dundrum captain. 

This was followed by the players and spectators enjoying a barbecue and light refreshments. 

Special thanks to Derek Bailey and Mark Bunting for umpiring and Andrew Hammond for scoring.


Context to the game

The game of cricket has been a feature in the life of Dundrum village for many years. The game was introduced by the sixth Marquess of Downshire when the club president was Lord Arthur Hill, son of the Marquess. 

The first team went under the name of the Downshire Cricket team, they played on the Murlough Estate, and were mostly folk who were workers on the Downshire Estate.

Interest in cricket spread to the village and the game was played at the ‘Meadow’ situated at the mouth of the Moneycarragh River with the Mourne Mountains as back offering beauty and tranquillity at the ground. 

Since its inception nearly 120 years ago, Dundrum Cricket Club has enjoyed the support of the people of Dundrum with the Downshire family showing interest and support – the first clubhouse was a gift from the seventh Marquess, it was his late mother’s art studio. 

Keen followers of cricket will remember that in the old East Down League, the Downshire Cup was the main competition, and was a two innings game. 

Sadly, the local league folded in 1964 with the Dundrum Cricket team being the last winners of the cup.  It was great to see the cup at the ground for public viewing and it is hoped that the match for the cup will become an annual event.