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Busy Close Season for Youth Cricket in the NCU

NCU Representative Cricket Directorate

In September all clubs were written to asking for nominations for the youth winter programme.  From the 18 clubs who responded, 134 children were nominated all of whom were invited to 6 sessions each.   

Between mid October and Christmas a total of 33 x 2 hour sessions were held at the excellent facilities at the Ulster University Jordanstown. All sessions had either 3 or 4 coaches in attendance.

During the Christmas holidays squads were selected at under 11, 13, 15 and 17.  Between January and April a further 42 sessions have been arranged. For the first time development squads at under 13 and 15 have been introduced for those who didn’t make the final squads, to give them a further chance to develop their skills and possibly push for future selection.

It has been particularly pleasing to see the work that clearly has been going on at some clubs who have not been represented in recent years.  One such club is Donaghcloney who have 5 boys included in the final selected squads

The NCU have also introduced 4 sessions for 7 to 9 year olds with 20 children attending.

Following the selection of the Northern Knights and Knights Emerging Players squads it was agreed to establish a Junior Knights Academy for the best 13 to 19 year old players in the union. The first selection of 15 players has been made and a programme is being prepared that will give these talented players the best coaching available throughout the 2014 season.

In total almost 150 children will over the winter have had exposure to probably the most extensive coaching programme ever undertaken by the NCU.

We have also been delighted by the number of volunteer coaches that have come forward both to help and broaden their own coaching experience.  With the instigation of the coaches association later in February, hopefully more coaches will be encouraged to get involved which will allow us in the future to further enhance the programme.