NCU Schools Cricket 2023
Scotland Under 17 beat Ulster Schools by 78 runs
Hillhead, Glasgow, 10 August.
Scotland Under 17 145/8 (25 overs, T Knight 48, M Aahil 2/18)
Ulster Schools 67 (21.3 overs, M Aahil 16, L Bennet 3/10, B Stronach 2/8, F Khan 2/15)
The start was delayed by 90 minutes and the match reduced from 35 to 25 overs a side because the umpires were concerned about a damp area on an adjacent used pitch. On a surface that made fluent strokeplay difficult (only ten boundaries were scored in the entire match) Scotland owed much to their captain Thomas Knight (grandson of former Woodvale batsman Robert Heaslip) in posting a total that always looked very competitive in the conditions. This proved to the case as the home bowlers took wickets at regular intervals, only Mo Aahil and Angus Farrell surviving more than 20 deliveries. The four-match tour thus ended with two wins and two defeats.
Scotland Under 17 beat Ulster Schools by 6 wickets
Hillhead, Glasgow, 9 August.
Ulster Schools 71 (31.5 overs, Z Ihsam 4/11, C Davidson 3/7, M Saraswat 2/12)
Scotland Under 17 73/4 (17.1 overs, T Wylie 27no)
A devastating opening burst by Scottish pace bowler Zainullah Ihsam in overcast conditions reduced Ulster to 4/4 by the end of the third over of a scheduled 50-over match. Mohamed Aahil and Ryan Clarke tried to repair the damage with a stand of 36 for the fifth wicket but the Scottish spinners choked off any meaningful recovery. The Ulster bowlers put up a decent effort but couldn’t prevent the hosts from securing a very comfortable victory. The 35-over game against the same opponents tomorrow will conclude the tour.
Western District lost to Ulster Schools by 91 runs
Kelburne, Paisley, 8 August.
Ulster Schools 234/9 (50 overs, T Crothers 70, M Aahil 36, R Clarke 32, S McMIllan 23, S Hargie 4/34, A Haris 3/39)
Western District 143 (38.1 overs, M Maxwell 35, A Umeed 25, M Hanna 3/24, A Carville 2/22, A Farrell 2/28)
Tom Crothers was once again in the runs for Ulster Schools (CricketEurope)
The Ulster top four all scored freely, with Tom Crothers (78 balls, 8 fours) adding 89 with Ryan Clarke to take the score to 173/2 in the 34th over. Wickets then began to fall regularly, particularly to Hargie’s leg spin, but the later batters rallied sufficiently to post a very competitive total. The home team lost wickets at regular intervals, especially to the off spin of Mark Hanna and Angus Farrell, and were never close to maintaining the required scoring rate. The matches on Wednesday and Thursday against teams drawn from the Scotland Under-17 squad may provide stiffer competition. An interesting side note is the form of Crothers, who has scored four half centuries in five innings for the talented batsman.
Western District lost to Ulster Schools by 2 wickets
Kelburne, Paisley, 7 August.
Western District 167/6 (35 overs, A Tahir 50, M Wilson 49, M Skelly 2/45)
Ulster Schools 168/8 (31.4 overs, T Crothers 69, S McMillan 36, R Clarke 27, H Atif 3/27, M Wilson 2/17, S Hargie 2/18)
A tidy bowling performance kept the home side to 167 in their 35 overs. Tom Crothers (66 balls, a six and 8 fours) continued his recent excellent form, adding 51 with Sam McMillan and 79 with Ryan Clarke to take the score to 147/2 before a major collapse threatened to undermine their good work. Five wides in the 32nd over finally clinched a nervy victory. On Tuesday, the Schools meet the Western Districts XI again in a 50-overs match.
Leinster Schools drew with Ulster Schools
Anglesea Road, 29 June.
Leinster Schools 342/7dec.(62.3 overs; Tom Johnson 73, Luke Thomson 68, Sean O'Brien 63, Liam Gilhooly 43, Eoin Birch 33; Jacob Scarlett 3-40, Michael Skelly 2-49)
Ulster Schools 142 and 203/9 (77 overs: Tom Crothers 78, Ryan Clarke 34, Mohammad Aahil 32; Daniel Forkin 5-39)
Ulster Schools (Stephen Tonge)
A determined rearguard action by the last pair of Angus Farrell and Adam Armstrong salvaged a draw for Ulster Schools against their Leinster counterparts. The duo held on grimly for 10 overs, surrounded by the hosts in scenes reminiscent of the Oval Test of 1968. Resuming day two on 214 for 4, Leinster lost Eoin Brich (33) early, but a stand of 95 in 18 overs between Sean O'Brien - who hit 8 fours in his 63 - and Liam Gilhooly (43). That allowed them to declare with a lead of 200 and plenty of time to try and whittle out Ulster. It looked as if the game would meander to a draw as an improved batting effort second time around from Tom Crothers (78), Ryan Clarke (34) and skipper Mohammed Aahil (32) took them to 161 for 3. However, Merrion left-arm spinner Daniel Forkin took five wickets in quick succession, getting his rewards for a marathon spell which looked to be taking Leinster to victory. However, they couldn't prise out the final wicket in a thrilling finale. A great advert for the red-ball game.
Leinster Schools v Ulster Schools Day 1 of 2
Anglesea Road, 28 June.
Ulster Schools 142 (Adam Heasley 31, Ryan Clarke 28)
Leinster Schools 214/4 (Tom Johnson 73, Luke Thomson 66)
Leinster Schools (Stephen Tonge)
Leinster Schools hold the advantage after the first day of their two-day clash with Ulster at Merrion. The Northern side were bowled out for 142 with Adam Heasley top-scoring with 31, and Ryan Clarke, Mohammed Aahil and Tom Crothers all passing 20. There were three wickets for Luke Thomson, plus two apiece for Yash Bala and Eoin Birch. A third wicket stand of 98 between opener Tom Johnson and Luke Thomson then ensured Leinster finished the day very much in the ascendency. Johnson hit 15 fours and a six in his 73, while Thomson's 66 included 12 fours. Eoin Birch is unbeaten on 29 and he has added 34 for the fifth wicket with Sean O'Brien (9*). With a lead of 72 and more to come, Ulster will have to battle hard to salvage a draw.
Schools Cup Final: RBAI beat Strabane Academy by 7 wickets
Wallace Park, Lisburn, 19 June.
Strabane Academy 101 (24.1 overs; J Orr 27; James West 5-18, Adam Leckey 2-24, Alistair Watt 2-13)
RBAI 105/3 (15.2 overs; Josh Eagleson 60*, Tom Crothers 28; Aaron Cooke 2-16)
RBAI Ulster Schools' Cup Winners 2023 (CricketEurope)
RBAI clinched the trophy for a record 12th time as they recorded a comprehensive 7-wicket win over Strabane Academy at Wallace Park. The game was all but decided in the early stages as the Tyrone side lost two wickets in the first three balls as Adam Leckey truck twice. A third quickly followed, before Jamie Mutch (17) and Ryan McAuley (12) added 36 for the fourth wicket. Both fell to Alistair Watt, and it was left to Johnny Orr (27) to get his team past 100. James West (5-18) tore through the middle and lower order to dent any hopes of a comeback. Cody Mehaffey removed Inst captain Rory Ellerby cheaply, but a second wicket stand of 74 in 10 overs between Josh Eagleson and Tom Crothers (28) all but settled matters. Aaron Cooke (2-16) struck twice to give the scoreboard some respectability, but Eagleson struck seven boundaries in his 43-ball unbeaten 60, which saw his team over the line in the 16th over.
Master In Charge Johnny Peake after RBAI beat Strabane Academy by 7 wickets
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