Warwickshire’s Under-18s have been crowned national champions – just days after the Under-14s triumphed in their final – in what’s been described as a “fantastic achievement” for the Club’s Academy.

A strong Bears U18s, featuring several teenagers with senior squad experience, overcame Somerset by 48 runs at Kibworth Cricket Club on Sunday (3 Sept).

Posting 262 (48.4 overs) the Bears held their nerve under severe pressure to bowl out their counterparts for 214.

George Maddy – with two List A games to his name – top scored with 77 (92 balls, seven fours, one six), while Amir Khan (46), Kai Smith (28), Ben Blakemore (26) and Oliver Dandy (24) all contributed to the total.

Umar Shaikh – cousin of Academy graduate Hamza who topped the run scoring for England U19s against Australia in the recent Youth ODI series – took two wickets for 33. 

Sam Atkinson, the ninth member of Warwickshire’s Academy for the 2022-23 cohort after joining from Staffordshire in April, took two for 49, whilst there were braces for Ed Batchelor (two for 34) and Levi Gekis (two for 45).

Last week (30 Aug) the Under-14s beat Essex by six wickets to win their national title having progressed through the group and knockout stages unbeaten.

“To have not one, but two national champions in our age groups is a fantastic achievement and illustrates the strength of our youth ranks,” said Warwickshire High Performance Manager Paul Greetham. 

“Knockout cricket is incredibly challenging, yet both sides played with real determination and high quality throughout their competitions.  

“This trophy is a testament to the hard work they’ve put in; the temperament they’ve shown is pleasing and I’m sure that will stand them in good stead. 

“A number of these players have featured in the first and second team environment and I know those experiences have helped this group perform so well under pressure.”

The Club’s Academy players regularly play for top Birmingham and Warwickshire League sides – experience that’s helping prepare them for high-level cricket – and Greetham was quick to thank local clubs for their support.

Performance Director Gavin Larsen added: “This is a special moment for the club and I want to congratulate Paul, his staff and the players.

“I’ve taken a big interest in the Academy and how that structure brings players through the Pathway. I believe it’s vitally important to have a wide base at the bottom of the talent pyramid and, seeing these results and performances, I’m enthused.”

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