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NCU to Host Festival of Under 16 Cricket

Richard White

The Northern Cricket Union (NCU) is to host a prestigious Under 16 Cricket Festival from August 13th-15th, in Belfast.

Following on from successful tours to festivals at St Alban's (U17) and Taunton (U11/U14) in the past two seasons, the NCU considered hosting their own inaugural event, with Campbell College Belfast as base.

Campbell College has agreed to host players and officials, with CSNI (Stormont) and CIYMS (Belmont) hosting the games over the three days. Teams from Yorkshire Schools Cricket Association, Cornwall Cricket Board and St Joseph's College will join the NCU in a round robin tournament.

Chairman of the NCU Alan Waite speaking about the forthcoming festival said, 'the NCUwill warmly welcome our visitors from Cornwall, Yorkshire and St Joseph's School, Ipswich to our inaugural cricket festival. Our young cricketers, coaches and administrators have been hugely impressed by participating in similar festivals in England and Scotland over the past four years. With the support of Campbell College, to whom we are grateful for hosting the players and officials and also some grant funding from Belfast City Council, NCU staff have worked expediently to co-ordinate this exciting new chapter as part of our commitment to youth development within our region.

St Joseph's College in Ipswich is where Mark Patterson (former Cliftonville Cricket Club and Ireland International) taught, and he was instrumental in the NCU U17 participation in the St Albans Cricket Tournament, in the last two years. Mark also encouraged their school rugby team to tour Northern Ireland, which they have done for the past few years. Ben Clements, who teaches at St Joseph's, is a former Belfast Royal Academy (BRA) pupil, adding to the NCU connection.

Brian Walsh, Director of NCU Representative Cricket said, 'it is great to see the development of Youth Cricket in the NCU over the past five years. A lot of credit must go to the Representative Directorate who are responsible. Full support to the development has been given by NCU chairman Alan Waite and our thanks go to a tremendous group of coaches and parents. The new venture this year of our Under 16's Festival at Campbell College is an extension of our development where, instead of our young cricketers having to travel to England or Scotland, English counties are coming to Northern Ireland to play in our Festival. Great credit has to go to General Manager Angela Platt and Uel Graham for the organisation of the tournament. It is also a welcome development to work with Campbell College and to be able to use their excellent facilities'.

Robert Robinson MBE, Headmaster of Campbell College said, 'we are delighted that the NCU has decided to hold its first ever residential festival at Campbell College this summer and look forward to welcoming the three teams from England to our campus. We are grateful for the strong partnership we enjoy with both the NCU and Cricket Ireland and look forward to watching some superb talent on display in East Belfast'.