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Northern Cricket Union launch Junior Knights Academy

NCU Representative Cricket Directorate

The Northern Cricket Union (NCU) have announced the creation of the Junior Knights Academy and its first squad of players.

Following the reintroduction of interprovincial cricket in 2013 and the creation of the Northern Knights (the NCU's inter provincial team) this season has seen the NCU's Representative Cricket Directorate looking to produce a continuous stream of quality players to represent the Northern Knights by firstly introducing the Emerging Players Squad and now a Junior Knights Academy.

The Junior Knights Academy, for players aged from 12 years old to 19 years old, will develop the skills of potential future Northern Knights players who have been identified through the Regional Development Squads and through the knowledge of the Elite NCU Coaches. 15 players have been named in the first Academy Squad.

Manager of the Junior Knights Academy, Michael Hingston, said: “The NCU Junior Knights Academy is an extremely important programme for the Union. Not only will the players be receiving coaching from some of the top cricket coaches and players in the NCU and further afield but they will also be gaining knowledge and information on the finer details surrounding sport and what it takes to be a high performance athlete. We are very excited about the prospect of working with these young players and for them the hard work has already begun as they try to become a Northern Knight.

To date, the Junior Knights Academy have held three training sessions with two more planned before the outdoor season starts. The training sessions have been using video analysis to help develop the players techniques.

The first session was run by Eugene Moleon, Northern Knights Coach and Ryan Eagleson with Knights Selector, Kyle McCallan and Knights Captain, Andrew White helping coach during the session. Cricket Ireland's National Academy Manager, Craig Hogan attended the first session giving some helpful tips and guidance to the inaugural squad.

Captain of the Northern Knights and Ireland International, Andrew White, said: “The launch of the Junior Knights Academy is of utmost importance if our best young cricketers are going to develop their skills in order to become good senior cricketers and hopefully Senior Knights of the future. It is our intention to challenge them beyond their comfort zone, often outside of their age bracket, that will then in turn, help them to perform under pressure.”

The following players have been selected to attend the Junior Knights Academy

Jack Burton Carrickfergus
Jack Carson Waringstown
Tim Carson North Down
Andrew Forbes Instonians
Jay Hunter Templepatrick
Aaron Johnston CIYMS
Archie Johnston CSNI
Aaron Kennedy Waringstown
Andrew Knape Instonians
John Matchett CIYMS
James McClean Ballymena
James Mitchell Waringstown
Stuart Nelson Cregagh
Morgan Topping Waringstown
Ross Waite Waringstown