The Isle of Man reached the semi-finals of to the North West Cricket Union Under-13 'World Cup' competition in Northern Ireland last week.
The Manx youngsters enjoyed a fine week in County Tyrone against various club sides from the area who each adopted a country to represent. The Manx got their campaign off to a fine start with a victory over 'New Zealand' on the opening day.
In a reduced four-over a side contest because of rain and chasing 30 runs, Dylan Howard hit a six to win the game in the last over. This was after some tight bowling from Samson Curtis, Sam Morris and Adi Malikireddy, along with a couple of good run outs in the field.
The following morning the Isle of Man went up against Canada in a reduced 10-over a side contest because of a wet outfield and the afternoon saw a 16-over contest against Sri Lanka, both resulting in wins for the islanders.
There was lots of positive stroke play and running between the wicket during the day. Runs were scored by Freddie Hatton, Aarav Arun, Ollie Quinn, Theo Kiernan, Kai Crookall and Malikireddy, along with retirements from Curtis, Morris and Zack Heunis.
Wickets were shared by all the bowlers - Crookall, Niall Howland, Malikireddy, Curtis, Arun and Hatton. The U13s were busy in the field with a number of run-outs and catches, with Morris’s catch the pick of the bunch.
Day three saw the Isle of Man win one and lose one in two competitive and exciting games of 10-over a side cricket.
The morning game saw the IoM take on the West Indies at Glendermott CC. Bowling first, Manx side bowled some excellent areas and restricted the boundaries for their opponents, which was backed up by some committed fielding.
The pick of the bowlers Crookall’s 1-12 as the West Indies finished on 76 for 2.
In reply, WI started well with the ball and took two early wickets, before the Manx side hit back with a second-wicket partnership of 50 between Quinn and Howard, with the former run out for a hard-hitting 18.
A cameo of 12 not out from Heunis followed, with Howard hitting a slog sweep for six to win the game for the Isle of Man with two overs to go as he finished on an excellent 39 not out. The second game of the day saw the Isle of Man take on Australia at Bready CC. The islanders bowled first and, after an early wicket for Curtis, the hard-hitting Aussies got off to a flier.
Malikireddy bowled well in the middle overs but Australia continued to punish anything short and hit powerfully anything over pitched, finishing on an excellent 106 with two retirements. In response the Isle of Man top order didn’t really get going. Morris at number six batted well but were never up with the required rate and finished on 68 for 9.
On day four, in the last of the group stage fixtures, the Isle of Man went up against Ireland in a 16-over a side game. The Irish started excellently with ball and took three early wickets.
The Isle of Man continued to bat and run between the wicket positively. Crookall was the top scorer with 31, along with Quinn 21, Morris 26, Curtis 17 and Heunis hitting two fours to finish the innings off as the Manx side ended on 120 for 7.
In reply Ireland started positively and were up with the rate but Crookall with a direct hit run-out and then a wicket halted the Irish.
O’Neill batted excellently for Ireland with 34 but, once he was caught by Morris off the bowling of Mailikireddy, two late wickets from Curtis and Howland saw Ireland finish on 95 for 5.
Therefore, the Isle of Man claimed victory and finished second in their group which meant they headed to Glendermott CC to play Sri Lanka.
Batting first, the Manx side batted positively, with Kiernan 21 before Quinn scored a terrific unbeaten 100 not out off 30 balls in an innings where he middled everything.
In response, Sri Lanka kept going throughout the innings and finished 55 for 8, with Arun and Curtis taking two wickets each as the Isle of Man booked their place in the semi-final.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for the Isle of Man in the last-four clash against Australia at Bready CC as a strong bowling and fielding display from the Aussies saw the Manx side bowled out for 41.
In reply, the Isle of Man worked hard in the field and managed to pick up the one wicket an excellent catch by Hatton, but it was Australia who triumphed before going on to win the afternoon’s final against the West Indies.
Overall, it was a great experience for the Isle of Man cricketers who produced lots of good performances over the week and embraced the opportunity to play at lots of different grounds and against different opposition.
Isle of Man Cricket Association wish to thank North West Cricket Union for hosting the team. The players, coaches and parents h really enjoyed themselves and everyone was made to feel very welcome.