The Northern Cricket Union U14 (sponsored by PwC) got their festival off to a lively start with a narrow 2 wicket defeat to Northants at Wyvern. The U14 West Festival has grown to 12 teams this year across 2 groups and with Kings College ‘only’ having 5 cricket squares, Wyvern, home of St Andrews CC, plays host to the additional game each day. The NCU were greeted with a fresh wicket, prepared by Denis Breakwell, the former Somerset left arm spinner. There was great support for the NCU boys from the travelling parents and siblings.
Asked to bat first, the NCU got a few starts, Topping (16), Clark (29) and McCullough (34), but were teetering at 134 for 6 in the 32nd over. Then captain, Rory Ellerby (82) and Mohammed Aahil (38 not out) put on 109 for the 7th wicket and the NCU ended on a very respectable 254 for 8 from their allotted 50 overs. This is the highest score put together in four years at the festival. Ranganathan was the pick of the Northants bowlers with 3 for 27 off 7 overs.
Northants reply got off to a flying start with some early nerves from the NCU bowlers and were 81 for 2 in the 15th over. Harry Dyer (3 for 39 off 10 overs) and David Kane (1 for 35 off 8 overs) put the brakes on and Northants had slumped to 155/7 in 32nd over. However, Ford with 51 off 43 balls and Melley with 39 not out off 45 balls saw Northants home by 2 wickets, and with more than 3 overs to spare.
The NCU boys were disappointed that they lost such a close game but can take great heart from their batting recovery and running Northants so close on the day, as well as picking up 9 bonus points.
- Tuesday 23rd July: NCU Under 14 v California
- Wednesday 24th July: NCU Under 14 v Cornwall
- Thursday 25th July: NCU Under 14 v Cheshire
- Friday 26th July: NCU Under 14 v Barbados