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The Union is planning further exciting developments in the Youth Programme for the 2016 season

NCU Representative Cricket Directorate


As the new year begins the NCU are already finalising plans for their youth playing squads with trips outside the province at three different age-levels.

It has always been the Union's intention to provide match practice for its representative sides prior to the interprovincial tournaments but it has proved very difficult in the past to find cricket at the level required in a suitable time-frame.

This year however by using players, former players and other key contacts the Union are in a position to take the representative programme to another level.

Ex-Cliftonville, Surrey and Ireland opening bowler Mark Patterson has been able to arrange fixtures at Under 17 level against his own school St.Josephs College, Ipswich and also within the St.Albans Cricket Festival during the last week in June and will no doubt relive a few memories with his Ireland team mate and Under17 Lead Coach Derek Heasley.

Scott Irvine's Under15 squad will now be travelling to Denmark in the first week of July. The ICC funding cuts which saw the European Under15 Tournament scrapped had left Denmark seeking a replacement series of fixtures and the Union was happy to take up their offer. The fact that the Danish coach is former Ireland player Jeremy Bray has of course facilitated this arrangement.

The third group planning their trip next year is the Under13 squad where Lead Coach Uel Graham opened negotiations with Gary Wilson when he was taking his 'Masterclass' last weekend. So a trip for that age-group is on the cards towards the end of June.

The success of the Youth Development Tour to Cape Town last spring cannot be overemphasised, the Union is of the opinion that a large number of those who took part progressed their game as a result of that trip. As a consequence the Union are already examining options for another major tour in 2017 taking into consideration School Holiday dates, exam schedules and age-groups to be included.

The 2016 season then looks to be one that will offer opportunity for the Union's youth players to progress their game and challenge for further representative honours.