“We’re back!” declared the emcee to the assembled gathering. There followed a momentary puzzled silence. Who’s back? What’s back? And then the penny dropped followed by a burst of applause and a little whooping from all.
After a gap of three years the Annual Dinner at Malahide Cricket Club was back on. And Sold Out! Covid knocked the stuffing out of such occasions for a couple of years and then a further year went by where for one reason or another the Dinner didn’t take place.
A few Club stalwarts came together and reasoned that if there was no 2023 Dinner then there was a real danger that the event would die out altogether. The Executive gave approval and a small sub committee set about their task. Numerous meetings were held in the lead up to the first Saturday in November being the traditional date for the Annual Dinner.
Sourcing a Caterer to provide a Dinner menu at a reasonable cost was the early big ticket item. Many food establishments had gone to the wall since Covid and prices had escalated.
And then other issues began to emerge: Booking Platforms, QR Codes, Pricing, Marketing, Posters, Dietary Needs, Bar and Floor Staff, Minimum Numbers, Cut Off Date, Guest Invites, Speakers, Entertainment (if any), Table Plans, Chairs/Tables, Cutlery, Delph, Menu Card, Post Dinner Clean Up and the rest.
When the Caterer was appointed a lot fell into place and the nerves settled, somewhat! They carried out a thorough recce of the Clubhouse and would look after setting up and dressing the tables, provide cutlery, delph etc with their own staff serving on the night.
The Caterer required notice if the plug was to be pulled due to lack of numbers. Thankfully, the numbers stacked up and a Sell Out Notice was circulated to members with 70 attending.
On the night as is custom, small groups gathered in Gibney’s or Duffy’s for a jar in the Village before making the short walk over the railway bridge up to the Club. A touch of glamour (Why Not!) greeted the arrivals – a glass of Prosecco and cheerful melodies.
The 70th Annual Dinner by most reckoning was a full blown success. The food was good. The medleys and roulades tasted the buds. In a revamped format, only two short speeches were delivered by Jim Bennett, Cricket Leinster President (past) and Men’s 1st XI Captain James Newland. Both well received. Other than Jim, the President (Susan Bray) of our nearest and oldest rivals Clontarf Cricket Club was also an official guest.
Before, during and after, and after after! the chat and the banter flowed amidst a mix of generations and genders on a great night in the Sticky.
Brian Gilmore 2024