Up to six teams regularly participate in the McCullough Cup, the Division 1 Ulster Schools’ Saturday morning league– 1st XI, 2nd XI, U15XI, U14XI, U13XI and U12XI. There are also mid-week Ulster Schools’ cups for each individual team: the 1st XI Ulster Schools’ Cup and plate, the 2nd XI Duke of Abercorn Cup, the U15 Shirlow Cup and Jubilee Plate, the U14 Derriaghy Cup and Plate, the Mourne Cup and Plate, the Wesley Ferris Cup (B) and Plate . Pre-season nets take place in February to prepare the teams for April-June matches.
Cricket tours have taken place for the 1st XI to Christ’s Hospital, Sussex and the U16 Colts to King Edward’s, Stratford. In 2009 Clifton Prep, South Africa were the first overseas team to play at the school.
Facilities include, at Hollinger Park, 3 grass surrey loam wickets and an artificial wicket; at School, an artificial wicket, 2 outdoor cricket bays and 2 indoor cricket bays (Sports Hall). Another first for the school was the hosting of the U19 Ulster Schools’ trial, which saw 1st XI skipper Simon Beattie hitting 54 runs and being selected for Ulster Schools.
Over the years cricket teams have won many Ulster Schools’ age group competitions such as the U14 Derriaghy Cup, U14 NCU League, U15 Jubilee Cup and 1st XI division 1 McCullough Cup. However, the 1st XI Ulster Schools’ Cup has evaded the school.
History of cricket at Ballyclare HS has been well documented by Mr Nutt and Mr Martin; the earliest representative honour in 1959 being John Craig from the Muckamore village who played for Ulster and Irish Schools’ teams. Other Ulster and Irish Schools’ cricketers have been, Jeffrey O’Hara, Colin Davidson, Andrew Cowden, John Busby, Kyle McCallan, Robert Smith and Jay Hunter. At one time, Ireland’s most capped player was past pupil Kyle McCallan, whose cricket career included playing at two World Cups.
Currently past pupils Andrew Cowden (Irish & Ulster Schools’) and Alan Blain (Ulster Schools’ trialist) are teaching PE at Ballyclare Secondary School. Also Kyle McCallan (Irish International) is Head of PE and Cricket at Grosvenor Grammar.
The Templepatrick Cricket Club (TCC), having moved into The Cloughan over 15 years ago, have promoted cricket in the Ballyclare area and the club fields 4 adult teams as well as various youth teams. The club also has at least 80% past pupils’ membership and most of our current school boys play for TCC over the summer months.