Gloucestershire Cricket Starlets Win National Title

CB U17 B Division Cup Final Gloucestershire U17 301-6 (50 overs) Hertfordshire U17 257 all out (49.1 overs)

GLOUCESTERSHIRE’S Under-17s wrapped up the Division B National Title with a comprehensive 44-run win over Hertfordshire.

A 163-run partnership between captain Tom Smith and Kieran Smith laid the foundations of an impressive victory – the county’s first boys trophy success in its recent history.

The pair rescued their side from nine for two with some sparkling stroke-play that saw Tom Smith make 74 and namesake Kieran 90.

A late onslaught from Patrick Grieshaber (35) and Mark Lezar (61 not out) helped push Gloucestershire over the 300 mark on a good batting pitch at Kibworth CC.

In reply Herts started well, putting on 52 for the first wicket before Joe Cooke (17) fell leg before to Ross Martin.

Danny Slade then caught and bowled number three Alex Axon to put Gloucestershire in the driving seat.

But Herts continued to battle hard and with opener Ryan Wells at the crease they were always in with a chance. Ably supported by Reece Hussain (29) and Kasey Harris (44*) he eventually made 106 before becoming one of three run out victims for Martin as the run rate began to climb and the pressure mounted.

A late flurry of wickets including two for Slade completed the job for a jubilant Gloucestershire side in the final over.

Under 17 coach and Gloucestershire Cricket Board head of performance Tim Hancock said: “his was a nice way to finish the season. There is a lot of quality in the team and to go through the year unbeaten in both the one-day and two day formats is an excellent achievement.”

During the course of the season several of the Under-17s have represented Gloucestershire’s Second XI and Hancock says there have been a number of stand-out performances that have caught the eye – particularly in the batting department.

He said: “Tom Smith’s batting has been exceptional – he has scored several hundreds and led the side well. Dan Lezar is a very sweet striker of a cricket ball and Will Pascal has impressed on a number of occasions particularly when scoring a very good hundred in the semi-final.”

Commenting on the season enjoyed by Gloucestershire’s youth teams overall Hancock said there is plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future of cricket in the county.

He said: “When you think that the Under-17s won their division, the Under-15s were runners-up and the Under 17 women topped their group it has been a good season. There has also been a lot of good performances from our younger teams as well.

“I have been Under-17 coach for the last six seasons and I would say that pretty much every year the quality of player we get coming through has improved which shows that we must be getting something right. Hopefully we can keep this going and build on what has been a very good season.”