North’s future looks to be in good hands
THIS summer has been one of change and transition for Northumberland cricket.
A new chairman, team manager and captain at Minor Counties level have resulted in huge opportunities for the county’s young players who have shone over the past two seasons within age group programmes.
The Northumberland Cricket Board has developed talented players Max Williamson, Luke Mussett, Luke Doneathy, Jack McCarthy and Rory Hanley, who have all represented Durham Academy over the past 12 months.
Williamson, Mussett, McCarthy and Hanley were joined by Sam Peter and Mohsin Mukhtar this summer in making their MCCA Championship debuts.
NCB community coach Dan Shurben said: “We hope our senior team can be built around these under-18 lads, and others, over the next few seasons.
“Tom Cant’s appointment as captain, as well as his continued employment by the cricket board within our age group system, has been key to this shift in culture.
“It allows the players and clubs to see a clear pathway for players to work through.
“We are looking to build a desire and willingness in our young players to want to represent Northumberland at minor counties level for years to come.
“Our senior side had a good T20 season, winning five out of its eight games and finishing runners-up in its group.
“However, the three-day championship side has found it difficult, particularly as a result of the unavailability of some senior players.”
Continued development at under-13 and under-15 level has resulted in success for Northumberland’s under-17 side in the last two seasons. It has won the twoday championship two years running, overcoming competition from Scotland and Leicestershire.
Shurben added: “Our players have excelled at this age group, scoring more than 400 twice in their first innings and piling up 491-5 against a strong Scotland side.
“Instilling a positive culture and environment for these young players, and extending this through into senior cricket, will see us reap the rewards in the future - allowing our young players to be the best they can be.
“Our under-15 girls’ side also continued to excel this summer, defeating Yorkshire and Lancashire and finishing joint top in its championship group - only to finish third on net run rate.
“As our age group performance sides continue to flourish, we hope we can continue to develop independent-thinking cricketers - not only for our senior side but for Durham and even England in future.”
Northumberland’s victorious under-17 squad