U15s look for finals day spot

Ecb U15 National Club Championship

Places for the national finals day of the NatWest U15 National Club Championship will be decided via play-offs between the respective County Champions on Sunday.

St Fagans (Wales) and Finchampstead (Berkshire) were the first two teams to qualify for their Regional Finals and have been joined by York and, on Wednesday evening, by Bournemouth (Dorset).

York's youngsters will now have the pleasure of playing in the regional final that their club has hosted for many years.

Bournemouth used to host the finals day when the competition was sponsored by the Portman.

Indeed they won the title on their own ground in 2005 and then appeared in the first finals day at Kibworth in 2008.

The winners that year, Blackheath CC from Kent, are also still in the competition and on Sunday morning will host Lewes Priory, the Sussex Champions, at the Rectory Field.

Wanstead will travel to Letchworth at lunch-time on Sunday with doubts over the availability of three of their players, who are booked to appear at the Bunbury Festival in Cheshire.

A morning start would have allowed the trio to play, but it is unclear whether they will be able to.

Other clubs still in the competition that have reached the national finals in recent years are Notts Unity Casuals and Heaton Mersey (Cheshire).

Heaton Mersey have a trip to Heaton (Lancashire) on Sunday, while Notts Unity Casuals have a home game against Spondon from Derbyshire.

Also playing on Sunday are Kibworth's U15 team (Leics), who host Wellingborough Town (Northants).

The club reached the regional final in 2008, the first year they hosted national finals day, but failed to reach the final.

They are hoping that they can go at least one better this time around and guarantee a bumper.

Other clubs to watch out for include Yateley (Hampshire) who, two years ago, lost out on the U13 title on run-rate to North Middlesex.

Another powerhouse of youth cricket is Wolverhampton CC who have an unenviable record of reaching the U13 National Finals Festival before struggling to maintain their success once the boys move up to U15 level - perhaps this will be their year at last.

The four regional finals will take place in the first week of August with four teams present at each venue.

Semi-finals will be played in the morning and then after lunch there will be a 3rd-place play-off and a final.

The four successful teams at these events will qualify for the national finals day on August 24 at Kibworth CC in Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire.

Regional finals
August 2 - Leamington CC
August 3 - Horsham CC
August 4 - York CC
August 5 - Weston-super-Mare CC

National finals day
August 24 - Kibworth CC, Leicestershire