All set for the 18th Minor Counties Cricket Festival
This Sunday will see 150 of the very best young cricketers from the Minor Counties descend on East Anglia for the annual Minor Counties Under-12 competition, sponsored by the Ipswich Building Society.
The ten representative teams competing at U12 are The Netherlands, Northumberland,
Cumbria, Cleveland, Lincolnshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and an academy side from Sussex, ‘Skillz Cricket Academy’.
Cambridgeshire U12s won the trophy last year, and no county has ever won it in successive years.
Festival organiser Don Topley said: "For the eighteenth year I will be delighted to, once again, welcome the young cricketers, staff and their parents to the Royal Hospital School on the Shotley Peninsula.
"The Minor Counties Cricket Festivals really have become the best county cricket festivals around and are very much etched into the age-group cricketing calendar.
"The cricket played is of a very high standard and a few of these youthful players will go on to enter the professional arena and even represent England.
"Sixteen players from the MCCF have now played professional cricket.
"Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone is the second ‘Old Boy’ of the festivals to represent full England honours at international white ball cricket, following in the footsteps of Reece Topley, who played for England in 2015."
Don added: "It proves that at this younger age-group level the Minor Counties possess enough talented young cricketers with tremendous potential especially when you consider Reece Topley, Liam Livingstone, James Vince, Liam Dawson, Tymal Mills, Alex Hales and this week’s new England Test cap, Tom Westley, all came through Minor Counties youth cricket."
Starting on Monday (July 31) each team will play five, 45-over win/lose/draw matches
culminating in a league table where points determine the winner.
Winning teams get 30 points but draws (5 points) and defeats pick up additional bonus points for every 20 runs and every wicket.
Outright and deserving wins will propel a team up the ladder.
Don said: "Our cricket festival philosophy over the past 17 years is not to bat for too long - the overs may be needed to bowl the opposition out. It is vastly different to the negative mindset of limited overs league cricket today."
After the Ipswich Building Society Trophy is presented on Friday, August 4, another 12 representative sides arrive for the Under -11s festival over four days, with games starting on Sunday, August 6 and continuing until Wednesday, August 9.
Participating teams are Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Lincolnshire, Cleveland, Northumberland, Cumbria, Oxfordshire, London Schools’, Skillz Academy and North Essex District.
Former England and Gloucestershire legend Jack Russell will congratulate the U11 players on the final festival day.
Don said: "Many of the cricketers are touring for the first time and that team bonding opportunity is hugely important to their development.
"Naturally, the U11s and U12s are accompanied by their parents, and perhaps other members of their extended family.
"Often it is the family’s summer holiday and more than 350 sets of parents will spend money in hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and other elements of local tourism which brings an enormous amount of money to the local economy of this East Anglian region."
Don added: "Groundsman Tim Parker, of Woolpit CC, has all the experience and expertise in producing the remarkable 49 excellent cricket pitches required over the two weeks and the boys and girls all reside within the school’s splendid boarding houses on campus."
The highest aggregate run scorers for both festivals are awarded a Piri-Piri cricket bat courtesy of Ben Stephens.
Smile Group Travel award two ‘Fair-Play’ awards while ColourplanPrint produce a professional commemorative programme to go with a delightful embroidered commemorative polo shirt, courtesy of Willow Sportswear of Bradford.
Don said: "Often I come across cricketers and parents of cricketers all over the UK who reminisce about their wonderful family cricket tour to East Anglia at the MCCF when their children were madly in love with the game at that tender age of 11 and 12. It has become something we are all really proud of."
Spectators are welcome to attend and enjoy the festivals.
The postcode required for satnav is IP9 2RX.
To receive news, updates and images of the 2017 MCCF please email firstname.lastname@example.org with MCCF in the subject line.