Time for the July round up for all Warwickshire boys county cricket, highlighting the achievements of the Bears stars of the future.

Under 19s

The U19 lads have had a successful month with some outstanding individual performances. The first Six Counties Competition match was a two-day affair (reduced to one) against last year’s winners Derbyshire. With day one washed out, 60 overs per side was agreed for day two with a draw possible. Three Warwickshire batsman passed 50 in the Bears total of 306 for 8 – Liam Banks (59), Steven Sandhu (76) and Harry Johnson (56). The Bears bowlers made early and regular inroads into the Derbyshire batting order, and at 87-7 it was looking like a procession. The Derbyshire tail dug deep and it was only in the 58th over that the Bears took the final wicket – with 13 balls remaining in the match. Seamer Tom Hope (4/28) was the pick of the bowlers. Next in this two-day competition is Yorkshire away on 10th & 11th August. Three one day matches have also been played in July against Devon Lions (won by six wickets), Leicestershire (won on D/L) and Cheshire (tied). Tom Hope was in fine form once again with the ball against Devon Lions at Sidmouth CC taking 3/20. Aaron Thomason and (guesting) Alex Mellor scored 93 and 95 runs respectively in a comfortable victory. Liam Banks scored another half century against Leicestershire but it was middle-order pairing of Harry Johnson (94*) and Finlay McCreath (47) who accelerated the total to 301. At 70/3 from 20 overs the rain lashed down, and the Bears had done enough to win on D/L. In a pulsating and high scoring match at Kenilworth Wardens CC, the Bears were disappointed not to complete a victory over a Cheshire Development XI. Captain Rob Yates scored 127 opening the batting and a rapid-fire 85 from 39 balls from in-form Harry Johnson ensured Warwickshire reached an imposing total of 320. Unfortunately some ill-disciplined Bears bowling towards the end of the Cheshire innings meant that the visitors managed to scrape a tie having lost eight wickets in the process.

Under 17s

The U17 boys have enjoyed a good run of form in the ECB U17 (3-day) Championship. At the time of writing, the team top Division 2A with one victory over Wales and two fairly dominant draws over Staffordshire and Northamptonshire. The final round of matches are this coming week – with Warwickshire hosting Nottinghamshire at The Edgbaston Foundation Ground (2-4 August) and Northants, the only other team who could qualify, taking on Staffordshire. Impressively, the U17’s have only batted once in each of their three Championship matches to date scoring 440 all out vs Wales, 457 all out vs Northants and 431 for 7 declared against Staffordshire most recently. The Bears top order batsmen have all contributed with big hundreds across the three matches with Captain Liam Banks scoring a mammoth and county age group record 263 against Wales, Rob Yates 140 against Northamptonshire and Moh Ahmed 148 against Staffordshire. Others have contributed of course, and Harry Johnson has enjoyed a rich vein of form (on top of his U19 runs) with 93 against Staffs and 71 against Northamptonshire. Harry also backed this up with 73* off 31 balls against the touring Darren Lehmann Academy. Moh Ahmed added to his century with 79 against Northants and George Garrett gave some valuable lower order support with 52 against Northants. On his U17 three day debut, Daniel Mousley scored an impressive 70 coming in at number seven. Pick of the wicket takers has been seamer Khayam Khan, who has taken 16 wickets in the Championship, with bests of 6/57 against Wales and 5/21 against Staffordshire. A solid group of seamers have provided excellent control throughout the campaign so far with George Garrett, Henry Brookes, Matt Davison, Finlay McCreath and James Rudge taking key wickets at crucial periods. In the most recent match vs Staffs, U15 spinners Daniel Mousley and Jacques Banton kept the opposition batsman very quiet with maiden after maiden, so much so they have kept their spots for the final group match against Notts.

The players in the U17 Development squad have also had a busy month – mostly dodging showers! This squad consists of players who are pushing hard to feature in U17 Championship cricket. It’s far to say that they have been unfortunate with the weather but still time for two 2-day fixtures and a number of one day games. The team had the better of the first two day fixture vs Staffordshire, with a U15 batsman Ethan Brookes top scoring with 130 in the first innings. The second two day match fell foul to the weather eventually, but not before Ben Rex had impressed with 94. Dan Clark become another in the long line of U17 centurions in the match vs Buckinghamshire which ended in a comfortable victory. Lancashire got much the better of the Bears in the fixture at Knowle and Dorridge. Defending 102 was always going to be a tough ask, and even tight bowling from the Warwickshire bowlers could not prevent an eight wicket loss. Most recently, a fixture against Leicestershire was again rain affected with Warwickshire 90/2 chasing 218 to win and in a good position, before the rain came down once again.

Under 15s

Following a tough start, a tie and a drubbing from Staffordshire, the U15’s have enjoyed a good run of form meaning they have qualified for an ECB U15 National Cup Quarter-Final. On a tricky wicket against Wales, a gritty team batting performance got the Bears to 183/7, Ben Griffin top scoring with 44. Warwickshire bowled Wales out for 154, with seamer Seth Westley taking 4/32 and off-spinner Kieron Holland 3/27. Next up was a comfortable nine wicket victory in a friendly vs Worcestershire. Opening batsman Shahid Arif scored a fluent 70* crossing the line with 16 overs remaining. In the next ECB group match, Warwickshire defeated a determined Buckinghamshire side by 14 runs in a game dominated by the ball, with no Warwickshire batsman scoring over 50. Kieron Holland once again starred with the ball taking 5/46. Most recently, in a friendly vs Yorkshire, Ethan Brookes scored his second county century of the summer with 109 from 111 balls in a total of 260. Sahal Malvernkar also chipping in with 51. Wickets were shared – leg spinner Hussama Khan with 3/14 – as Yorkshire were bowled out for 195. Hot off the press is a three wicket victory over Leicestershire in the penultimate group match. Leicestershire posted 221 for 7 – Jacques Banton claiming three wickets with his left arm spin. In reply, Warwickshire lost regular wickets but Kieron Holland held his nerve once again, and with a solid 36* saw Warwickshire home. One match remains in ECB Division 2A against Staffordshire, with both teams having qualified for a quarter final on Wednesday 17th August.

Under 14s

Following a significant wobble against Worcestershire early in July, the U14’s have progressed up the ECB U14 group table with victories over Buckinghamshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire. Off-spinner Yashas Machani with 3/26 was the only major success story against Worcestershire with the opposition easily surpassing a very modest 119 in a five wicket victory. David Burnell became the first U14 centurion of the summer with 104 out of a total of 276 against Buckinghamshire. The spinning trio of Arthur Garrett, Kiefer Woods and Yashas Machani took five wickets between them as Bucks were bowled out for 98. In the Shropshire match, Jeevan Barhey and Awais Mohammed both notched fifties in a team total of 246-5. Shropshire were bowled out for 173, with the spin of Kiefer Woods accounting for four dismissals. In the most recent group match against Herefordshire, Warwickshire completed a comfortable 166 run victory. Awais Mohammed scored a brisk 83 from 61 balls with plenty of other batsmen in the 20’s and 30’s in a total of 272. The home side were bowled out for 106 inside 27 overs, with the spin of Arthur Garrett (2/20) and Will Iles (3/18) causing most damage. The U14’s take on Yorkshire next in two T20 matches and then Wales in the ECB Cup.

Under 13s

Much of the U13 boys programme is to come, including an exciting four match tour of the North of England. They have completed two matches in July, beating Middlesex and losing out to Gloucestershire. In a low scoring, tight affair vs Gloucestershire, the visitors just got over the line by one wicket. Tommy Rex top scored with 52 out of a total of 137/7. Spinners Ethan Plain (4/30) and Ben Jones (3/22) did their best to halt Gloucestershire’s progress. Warwickshire chased down 168 for victory by three wickets against Middlesex. The leg spin of Ibrahim Afzal took 4/6 and it was Afzal again with 53 and Tommy Rex with 41 that put together the crucial partnership to reach the Middlesex target with 9 balls to spare.

Under 12s

The U12 lads have also struggled to avoid the showers in July, with two wins, one loss and two abandonments. There were two good wins against Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire. Against Worcestershire two top order batsman scored half centuries – Ashish Chakrapani with 81* and Sachin Dubb 65, in a total of 202. The opposition fell 43 runs short, with the wickets shared between seamer Ishmail Mohammed, and spinners Oliver Davidson and Hasan Mahmood. In a low scoring 31 run victory over Notts, the spin unit of Davidson, Mahmood and Alex Mousley squeezed the opposition taking five wickets between at a cost of only 51. The U12’s were involved in a high quality match vs Lancashire at Berkswell CC which ended in defeat by 18 runs, however both teams performed at a high level. Lancashire set Warwickshire 220, with Alex Mousley’s off spin taking 4/29 from 9 tight overs. It was Mousley with the bat who gave Lancashire a scare down the order with a 34 ball 61 including four sixes, after Warwickshire were reeling on 118 for 7. The abandoned match vs Yorkshire was about to reach a thrilling conclusion when the rain came. Alex Mousley once again tying the opposition down with three wickets. The U12 squad embark upon the Shrewsbury School U12 Festival this week where they defend the trophy as 2015 winners.

Under 11s

Quite the mixed bag for the U11’s – wins vs Wales and Derbyshire and losses to Yorkshire and Lancashire. Seamer Qasim Sohail took 5/7 in the other July match vs Leicestershire but heavy rain meant a very early end to the match. In both the Wales and Derbyshire victories the batsmen chased down low totals with runs and wickets shared around. George Baines has had a successful season to date with 218 runs. Wickets have generally been shared however spinners Sam Graham and Shailan Shrikanthan have shown good form, as well as the seam bowling Farhaad Ali and the aforementioned Qasim Sohail.

Under 10s

A successful July for our youngest age group the U10 boys. Three matches and three victories vs Derbyshire, Northants and Berkshire. Coaching staff and supporters were treated to a batting masterclass in the Derbyshire fixture. Amir Khan with 80 and Hamza Shaikh 94 batted for most of the innings and a 193 run opening partnership in the 91 run victory. On a hot day vs Northants, Mukund Raghavan got the innings off to a brisk start with 54, with a final total of 185 all out. Leg spinner James Cooper returned superb figures of 5/19 as Northants were bowled out for 99. Most recently against Berkshire, the bowlers restricted the opposition to 120 from 40 overs. Once again James Cooper with 2/15 from 8 overs the pick of the bowlers. Warwickshire passed the Berkshire total comfortably with six wickets and nine overs to spare.

Warwickshire organise fixtures for U11, U13 and U15 players who are just short of main county selection this season but have plenty of promise for future development. Our U11B team have started superbly this season winning all three matches played. There have been two five wicket hauls already by U9 spinner Sayf Hosein and U10 seamer Ben Blakemore. The U13B team have won one match (vs Derbyshire) and lost two to Yorkshire and NE Wales. Harvey Rogers-Collen has led the bowling effort with ten wickets to date with his off-spin. In two matches in July, the U15B team have beaten Staffordshire and lost to Yorkshire. Left handed opener Shahid Arif has led the batting effort with 154 runs and a highest score against Yorkshire – 76. Seamer Aaron Patel with six wickets and the spin of Prabjohte Sahota and Fahad Sabir (five wickets each) have been key to the fielding and bowling effort.