West Bretton and Cambridge Granta enjoyed their trip to the NatWest Under-13 Club Championship finals so much a year ago they are heading back for another taste 12 months on.
And both clubs are united in their aim – to return home this time around as national champions.
West Bretton, a village near Wakefield in Yorkshire, came third last year at Shrewsbury School, with Granta losing three games before seeing rain ruin their hopes of a win in their fourth match as they finished tied fifth.
They will be joined by Barnt Green from Worcestershire, Gloucestershire outfit Bedminster, Guildford of Surrey and Old Northamptonians at Oundle School from Wednesday to Friday and West Bretton team manager Dave Sharp believes their experience of the big occasion will be a huge plus.
“We played some good cricket last year and half of our lads are still eligible to play again,” said Sharp, who also runs their under-15 side.
“To get to this stage two years on the trot is a brilliant achievement for a club of our size.
“We only have two senior teams and three junior teams and have beaten some big clubs from Yorkshire, including Doncaster for the first time, to get this far.
“I’ve got a great set of lads to work with and they really deserve this chance again. If they can play how I know they can they will go well.
“We beat Cambridge Granta last year so we will know each other and that should be a good contest. I can’t wait to see how the lads perform.”
Granta, who run four senior teams and seven junior sides, have a new man at the helm this year with manager Jonathon Kent brilliantly taking on the reins from Vince Freeman, whose parting prediction has come true according to chairman of youth cricket Ian Reid.
Freeman has stepped up with the under-14s and Reid, who has worked with the juniors at Granta since 1978, was quick to remind him of his wise words.
Reid said: “Vince told me after the finals day last year that next year’s under-13s would be even better and he’s been proved right. Jonathon has done a fantastic job taking the team on and they have continued to flourish.
“There are four players who were part of the team last year and they will play a big part this time around.
“It didn’t quite go our way a year ago and the weather didn’t help either but whatever happens they have done the club proud.
“The under-15’s won the national title at Kibworth in 2009 so if these boys could repeat that it would be amazing.
“All-rounder Max Holden from that team is now part of the England Under-17’s set up and the Middlesex academy and he should be an inspiration to them all.”
Finalists: West Bretton (Yorkshire), Barnt Green (Worcestershire), Cambridge Granta (Cambridgeshire), Old Northamptonians (Northamptonshire), Bedminster (Gloucestershire), Guildford CC (Surrey).
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