The Northern Cricket Union (NCU) Under 14 squad (sponsored by PwC) recently travelled to England for The West Cricket Festival at King's College, Taunton, under the leadership of Uel Graham, Callum Atkinson and Wayne Hughes.
NCU Under 14 Squad
- Ben Beattie (Instonians)
- Shane Burke (Waringstown)
- Patrick Boyd (Bangor)
- Matthew Daly (Waringstown)
- Jack Dickson (Instonians)
- Cameron Doak (Lisburn)
- Josh Drain (Ballymena)
- Matthew Humphreys (Instonians)
- Adam Kennedy (Instonians)
- James Lambert (Instonians)
- James Rose (Instonians)
- Sam Topping (Waringstown)
- Michael Waite (Waringstown)
- Adam Wylie (Instonians)
- Day 1: NCU v Cornwall
The NCU won the toss and asked Cornwall to bat. This decision was immediately vindicated with two wickets in the first ten overs. However, a thirty-five yard boundary on one side caused difficulties for the NCU bowlers, and too many extras (two run penalty) meant that Cornwall amassed a formidable total. Cornwall’s opening batsman, J. Symord, batted maturely to reach 114, in a total of 275-7 off their allocated 50 overs. The highlight for the NCU was a spell of bowling that yielded five wickets for 43 runs from vice captain Matthew Humphreys.
Matthew Humphreys and Sam Topping opened the batting and looked solid for the first ten overs of the innings before Topping was bowled. The NCU struggled to keep up with the run rate and struggled to build partnerships to chase down the Cornwall total. Matthew Humphreys contributed 38 runs and Matthew Daly 28 runs, as the NCU succumbed by 124 runs.
- Day 2: NCUv Cheshire
Cheshire won the toss and elected to bat, however the NCU had an encouraging first seven overs by restricting Cheshire to five runs for the loss of two wickets. Matthew Daly with a frugal spell of bowling supported James Lambert's dangerous opening spell of 4 for 44. Cheshire adapted to the pitch conditions and built partnerships in the middle overs to reach a competitive total of 216.
The NCU started their innings positively as Shane Burke got off the mark with four boundaries making his way to 20 before being dismissed. Jack Dickson and Matthew Humphreys fell victim to some great swing bowling by the Cheshire opening bowler. Captain Ben Beattie took the Knights above the required run rate as he made 48 runs before being caught by the point fielder. Matthew Daly (44) and Adam Wylie (18) built another steady partnership as the NCU continued to maintain the required run rate, until the loss of Wylie before the drinks interval at 32 overs. From a position of strength at 160 for 5 wickets, the final five wickets fell for the addition of just ten runs, as the NCU succumbed by 46 runs.
- Day 3’s fixture was called off due to rain.
- Day 4: NCUv Northants
After two tough opening games in Taunton the NCU fought hard in the first innings and restricted Northants to 217 all out. Matthew Humphreys excelled again with three wickets for 35 runs from his allotted ten overs. Michael Waite and Matthew Daly took two wickets for 25 runs and one wicket for twenty-seven runs respectively.1-27. The Northants opening bowlers executed consistently quick spells, both taking two wickets each. Matthew Daly top scored with 34 before the NCU were bowled out for 101.
- Day 5:NCU v Kent
The NCU won the toss and elected to bat, but were all out for 79, due to the impressive Kent seam bowling attack. Jack Dickson top scored with 23. Fatigue was setting in on day five and only one Kent wicket was taken by Shane Burke in defence of the low total.
Speaking about the week in England Callum Atkinson said, ‘the week in Taunton was tough in terms of results, but equally a great experience for the team on and off the pitch. The players and coaching team got to see the top standard of underage County Cricket and will learn a lot going forward into next years winter programme’.