The Northern Cricket Union (NCU) has introduced a new development programme for its player pathway for summer 2019, designed to support the development of youth cricketers in clubs and the NCU regional development squad (RDS) programme.
Winter 2018 saw a significant increase in the number of players nominated by clubs and schools for the RDS programme. With this increase in participation numbers it was important for the NCU to provide more development opportunities for these players to stay engaged within the pathway and have more opportunities to participate and develop their skills.
Callum Atkinson, NCU Cricket Development Officer commented:
‘This is an exciting new venture and further enhancement of our Regional Development Programme in supporting the NCU’s youth domestic programme. These sessions will involve both the Performance and Development squads in an eight week programme of practice sessions and internal matches based at Wallace High School Lisburn. Games will be played with white balls, in coloured clothing.”
“The player pool will be split at each age group into two teams ‘Crusaders and Kings Guard’ to align with the Northern Knights theme and will play a range of formats. The two teams at each age group will win points for their respective teams through results and performances during their fixtures. The league format will finish with a final day of games at each age group in August to celebrate the finish of the Regional Development Programme.”
“The NCU have seen the benefits of widening the Winter Programme in a practice environment and we hope this initiative supports the club youth development by giving more players the opportunity for more game time in a competitive setting.”
The Programme will commence on 16th April 2019 initially with U11 and U13s, at Wallace High School, Lisburn and run for eight weeks, which then will run into their summer programme of representative fixtures. The Boys U15 and U17s will be introduced in May, ahead of their Interprovinicial series and other summer match programmes.
It is anticipated that this initiative will roll out into the Girls Programme in summer 2020. The current Girls Programme has seen huge growth in participation numbers already in 2019.