Despite their ground being flooded due to the rainfall brought by Storm Francis, Dundrum Chairman of Selectors and stalwart Jeff Maguire says it’s ‘far from doom and gloom’ around the club.
In photos and videos posted to social media on Tuesday afternoon, it was clear to see the damage that had been done to the County Down club’s home pitch with the whole ground submerged by water.
The rain is forecast to continue overnight and into Wednesday but Maguire doesn’t believe too much more damage will be caused and says these aren’t the worst conditions that the ground has faced.
“In 2008 we had a Sri Lankan professional over called Manoj Fernando (who lived on site) and he rang me one day saying I needed to get up there quick,” he said.
“I told him he would be alright because it was only water but he said I can’t swim! He was petrified.
“Water was coming up the path towards the pavilion and I will never forget it. It was worse then.
“The forecast says there will be more rain tonight and tomorrow.
“I don’t think there will be too much more damage because the river usually drops quickly. Big tides are the issue because that’s what backs it up.
“The big issue, and we’ve been saying this before, there is a drain that the Rivers Agency put in years ago that runs straight through our ground probably for a mile up into the corner.
“We have videoed where it is leaking and coming out into the ground, but the Rivers Agency says it isn’t theirs even though they maintain the bit at the end where the pipe comes out.
“They’ve put steps and rails down to it so we will be on to the local council when this is over.”
Maguire’s enthusiasm for Dundrum shines through in every conversation and he believes the ground is good enough to be approved for Grade One status by the Northern Cricket Union.
He predicts that within two weeks everything will be back to normal at The Meadow.
“The good thing about it is that it wasn’t saltwater,” he added.
“If it was saltwater, there would be more damage.
“We were planning to do work to the square in 10 days time so that would have really ruined it.
“In 7-14 days, we will be back to normal.
“We have three ground staff – one is 60, one is 81 and the other is 82. They are three unpaid ground staff and they had the place in really good order.
“We have a new electric scoreboard, extensions at both ends of the ground, double sightscreens and new covers.
“I was looking to push this year to see why it’s not a grade one ground because we think it is. It doesn’t produce massive scores but it produces great cricket.”
Dundrum have organised a pre-season tour to Shropshire and are planning to once again bring their junior section across the water next summer.
Maguire is maintaining a positive outlook despite the setback and says it will bring everyone closer together.
“It’s far from doom and gloom,” he said.
“There is the captain and young fella out standing in it with water up to their waist smiling. There’s a buzz about the club at the minute.
“We were beat by one run by the Drumaness Superkings in a great game of cricket and we are still buzzing.
“We have organised a pre-season tour to Shropshire and we will go in the spring now because of Covid.
“We have plans to bring our juniors away somewhere next year because we are one of the few clubs that do it and we want to continue doing it.
“I think we are a very progressive club. I wanted that post up today with them out swimming because it shows it isn’t doom and gloom.
“No one has died. Newcastle has been flooded and homes have been ruined. We haven’t and we will get there. We have a very positive attitude about the club.
“We were burnt down twice during the Troubles and that helped rejuvenate the club. When we have small setbacks like this, it pulls us all together.”