Young players from Swardeston Cricket Club will be performing on the national stage this week.
Star prospects Bud Bailey and Robert Newton are representing England Under-15s in games against Ireland Under-17s and Guyana Under-16s at Loughborough University.
Swardeston-CEYMS’s own under-15s are at Moseley CC on Monday 8 August for the Midlands regional finals of the Portman Building Society Under-15 National Club Championship. They’ve won through to the last 16 from an original entry of 1624 teams.
“We’re proud of their achievement in what is a very prestigious competition, with several of the current Test side having played in it,” said Stuart Shearing, one of Swardeston’s coaches. “It’s also nice that other players will get a share of the limelight, because it’s sometimes bandied about on the local scene that we’re a two-player side.
“Bud and Robert are both Northants Academy players and are certainly the jewels in our crown, but the fact is that, because of commitments, they haven’t played any under-15 games for us for the past two seasons.
“They have taken the opportunity to progress through our youth system to the East Anglian Premier League side.
“It’s a defined path open to all boys who are good enough, and we would like to think there are others in our system who will also follow it in the coming seasons.”
John Carr, the ECB’s director of cricket operations, said: “With players getting a chance to play first and second team cricket at an early stage, the Portman Under-15 Championship has never been such an important forum for the future stars of the game.
“It is every young cricketer’s dream to play at the highest level possible and there will be many striving to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Nasser Hussain and Andrew Flintoff, who played in the tournament in their formative years.”
The national finals are on Wednesday, August 17, at Bournemouth Sports Club.