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Monday, 11 July 2016
Despite the all too often soggy conditions preventing a sense of real momentum being achieved, the 2016 season has brought unprecedented success with all year group teams reaching the semi-finals or finals of the Lancashire Schools Cricket Association (LSCA) competitions and the 1st XI also reaching the semi-final of the HMC T20 Competition. Pride of place must go to the U15 squad who not only won their LSCA U15 final against Manchester Grammar School (MGS) but in defeating North-East champions, Durham School, and Yorkshire champions, Richmond School, booked their place in English Schools Cricket Association National Finals Day at Arundel, West Sussex on Sunday 4th September for the second time in our history. This squad is now beginning to fulfil the promise it has been showing since Year 7 and strong team spirit allied to a fiercely competitive attitude has served them well in winning through to the idyllic venue which was the scene of our triumph in 2012. Indeed it was entirely fitting that the U15 ‘s success came at a time when two of the leading protagonists in that historic National Championship win were not just playing together for the first time in the Lancashire CCC 1st team but actually playing leading roles with Matthew Parkinson taking 6 wickets in the match and Haseeb Hameed scoring 103. The two 19 year Old Boltonians displayed superb skills which gives great optimism for their further development and success in the game.
The 1st XI were unable to reach the North-West final for the first time in the last four years being undone by a batting collapse when well placed against MGS. Inconsistent performances reflected the interruptions caused by the weather and the pressure of examinations, but Fraser Kay and Will Davidson were leading performers with the bat, Ben Milnes with the ball and Harry Bevan behind the stumps always enhanced the standard of fielding.
The 2nd Team enjoyed more success this year in their games of different formats with notable victories at The Grammar School at Leeds and King’s School, Macclesfield. Roman Slusarenko and George Morgan were amongst the more reliable run scorers although Millen Jesani’s 84 was the highest score or the year at senior level during the immensely enjoyable tour festival at Ratcliffe College.
The U15’s success owes much to the important contributions from many different players in this talented squad but captain Kurtis Watson, all rounder Josh Bowers, batsmen Joe Ball and Ronak Hemmady and leg spinner Tjase Pindoria played leading roles and contributed match winning performances.
The U14’s have developed well, reaching the Final of their LSCA Harold Bailey Cup Competition which will be played in September now. Several players have matured into cricketers of great promise and Praharsh Parikh and Toby Ramwell were consistent threats to opposition batsmen throughout the season along with Henry Doyle. Batsman Ben Munslow acquitted himself well and captain Nikhil Maini lead from the front – this was particularly evident in the semi-final defeat of Lancaster RGS.
Similarly the U13 squad has progressed through to another LSCA final to be played in September as rain in the last week of term week sabotaged the finals programme. County players Luca Williams-Denton and Zack Donoghue supported by several boys with District level experience began to gell into an effective team learning how to win cricket games by applying their talent as the changing context of the game demanded.
As always the U12’s began the season with great energy and optimism within a sizeable squad of good potential. The progress of the year seven team is invariably a roller coaster ride and the difficult art of staying at the crease through patience and self- discipline always takes some time to acquire and can result in monumental batting collapses – a theme not lost on the more experienced 1st XI!! For the first time in our history a member of the Girls’ Division became a regular performer in the team and Amelia McKeown’s unbeaten 39 was very much instrumental in the recording of the first win of the season at Lancaster GS. Captain Daniel Morris produced some fine innings to provide the backbone of the larger totals scored whilst wickets were shared around by a number of promising bowlers. Mention must also be made of Barney Horridge’s three direct hits to run out three Lancaster GS batsmen( not to mention a catch to dismiss another) in a remarkable fielding effort which secured a victory sadly not repeated in the County Cup semi-final.
Despite the weather, our cup successes and the progress of two former pupils reflects the healthy state of Bolton School cricket and our support of cricket within the Bolton area through the MCCF Hub similarly continues to thrive. Over 200 young cricketers have now received coaching over the five years with many now progressing through to adult cricket in the local leagues. Other young cricketers have honed their skills to be invited to represent District teams whilst others now represent the county in a number of age groups. Indeed the hub model developed here is now being used to expand the national programme into new areas of the country.
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