North’s fu­ture looks to be in good hands

The Chronicle - - Grassroots Sport Junior Cricket -

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

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