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  • Overseas Placements 2m

    Young England hopefuls enjoy profitable winter

    How did Matt Critchley, Ollie Pope, Max Holden and George Bartlett fare Down Under this week?

    It has been an excellent week for the young English players spending the winter in Australia on ECB Overseas Placements, with four of them scoring centuries.

    Derbyshire all-rounder Matt Critchley has led the way, reaching three figures for the second consecutive match for Fairfield-Liverpool in the New South Wales Premier Cricket competition.

    After making 149 against Penrith, Critchley hit 126 to steer his club to a two-wicket win against local rivals Parramatta – and just as encouragingly for Derbyshire and England, the 21-year-old from Wigan had taken three for 78 with his leg-spin in the Parramatta innings.

    Critchley is now riding high in the Premier Cricket batting averages, with 594 runs in nine innings at an average of 66 – even though Fairfield-Liverpool are struggling in the table.

    Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman Ollie Pope has also passed 500 runs for the season for his club, Campbelltown-Camden, after striking his second century in their game against Eastern Suburbs in Waverley.

    Pope, whose previous century had come against a St George attack including Trent Copeland in October, made 113 from 132 balls, as his club consolidated their position in the top four.

    “It was a pretty bouncy wicket at Waverley and they had a good attack, so it was enjoyable,” said the 20-year-old former England Under-19s wicketkeeper, who established himself in Surrey’s 50-over team last season and also made six first-class appearances.

    “They had Nic Maddinson in their side and also Peter Nevill wicketkeeping, so it was interesting to watch how he went about his business.”

    Pope now has 505 runs at an average of 56, and has also been gaining valuable ‘keeping experience with Campbelltown-Camden.

    Over in Perth, there have been significant runs for his former Under-19 team-mates, Max Holden and George Bartlett.

    Holden, the left-handed Middlesex opener who had a successful loan spell at Northamptonshire last summer, emerged from a lean run with the struggling Wanneroo club to strike a stunning 138 and set up a surprise win against Subiaco Floreat.

    Bartlett, the Somerset right-hander who has been in consistent form for University throughout his Placement with four half centuries, finally passed three figures in their game against Mount Lawley this weekend, making 110 in a total of 337.

    Like Critchley and Pope, Bartlett has passed 500 runs at an average of more than 50 – in his case 518 at 51.8.

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