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Wales and Essex champions in youth cricket

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Essex U15s added the 2007 County Cup to their trophy cabinet while Wales proved the strongest contenders among the U13s at the recent Finals Festival for the U15 and U13 County Cups at Oundle School in Northamptonshire.

The Semi-Finals were played on immaculate school pitches and in bright sunshine. In the U15 Cup, Cheshire (222-5) beat Devon (208-8) by 14 runs with notable performances from Ed Stubbs (75) for Cheshire and Will Gater (72), batting seven, for Devon.

In the other semi-final, Warwickshire’s Jonathan Webb (96) and Usman Shabir (108*) led their side to a commanding total of 234-1 but Essex chased this large total down to win by two wickets with nine balls to spare. Rishabh Shah scored 81 and Adam Soilleux, batting at 10, scored a rapid 32* to pull off an unlikely victory.

Meanwhile in the U13 County Cup, Wales were dismissed for 189 by Yorkshire but in a nail-biting climax succeeded in bowling out their opponents for 186 to win by the narrow margin of three runs.

In a low scoring game Warwickshire were restricted to 104-8 by Kent with only captain Asim Shoaib (43) reaching double figures. Jay Barclay (51) led Kent to a four wicket victory with 10 overs to spare.

The U15 Final on Sunday proved to be a one-sided affair as Cheshire won the toss and elected to bat. Essex captain Tom Wheater (3-14) quickly reduced Cheshire to 9-3 and at 43-5, the writing was on the wall.

Cheshire eventually mustered 79. A few Essex hearts were fluttering as Chris Connolly (3-27) reduced them to 27-3 but thereafter only one further wicket fell as Essex passed their target in only 21.3 overs. Therefore Essex U15’s have added the 2007 County Cup to their success in last year’s U15 County Championship.

In the U13 Final Wales batted first and Callum Herring scored 67 as his side scored a massive 247-9 in their 40 overs. Kent were soon in disarray in reply as Ruaidhri Smith (4-27) led the Welsh attack as they reduced their opponents to 19-5. James Lilley then played some scintillating shots on his way to 50 as Kent tried to repair the damage and he was given good support by his captain, Tom Coldman (23), but it was only a matter of time before the Welsh wrapped up an impressive victory by 111 runs.

This has been a tremendous season for the Principality as they have lifted the U13 County Cup and the U15 County Championship. Added to this the U14 side reached the Semi-Finals of the County Cup and Newport finished as Runner-up in the Portman Building Society U15 National Club Championship.

The U14 County Cup Final, which was postponed earlier in the month due to rain, will now be played on Sunday 16th September at Kibworth Cricket Club in Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire when Lancashire take on Middlesex.