By Will Jackson
North Under-17s saw off South-West U17s in the final of the Super 4s last week, as the 50-over tournament once again proved to be a huge success.
England Development Programme coach Ian Brunnschweiler has described the week as a big success, and thinks that it offers a fantastic opportunity to young cricketers making their way in the professional game.
Brunnschweiler told ecb.co.uk: “It was an absolutely fabulous week. We had all the best under 17s cricketers in the country coming to the national centre and playing against each other over the course of the week, run by county coaches.
“It’s a brilliant opportunity for the players to come into a different environment, it’s different from county cricket and second-team cricket. I was stunned by the standard of cricket, it was brilliant.
“If anyone wants a good advert for what’s coming through the English system at the moment, they should have come last week because the standard was superb.”
North came out victorious in the tournament, beating South-West Under-17s in the final, and they boasted two of the leading performers throughout as Haseeb Hameed, 296 runs at an average of 74, and Matt Parkinson with 11 wickets at 12.36 top of the runs and wickets charts.
Max Holden (London & East), who scored 280 runs, and Oliver Westbury (Midlands), 233, also enjoyed good tournaments with the bat while Carl Parkinson (twin of Matt), another North player, and Ben Green (South-West) took six wickets apiece.
Former Hampshire wicketkeeper, Brunnschweiler, says that players will be rewarded for impressive performances in the tournament. This is shown in that Hameed earned himself a spot in the England Under-19s squad to face South Africa, while Holden and Matt Parkinson were both named in the England Development Programme Under-17s squad for fixtures with Pakistan.
Brunnschweiler said: “It’s a reward for players working hard at their counties and developing and playing well at academy and second team level. To get selected for the Super 4s is a great honour and a great opportunity for them to show off their skills under a pressure situation.”