YOUTH CRICKET: Free-scoring Saints crowned county kings

Saints Under-13s celebrate their county cup success
Saints Under-13s celebrate their county cup success

Two brilliant team batting performances saw Northampton Saints claim County Cup glory as they stormed to 2018 Vitality Under 13 National Club Championship finals day glory on Sunday.

The county finals day was played at Saints’ own Birchfield Road East ground, and they certainly looked at home in their surroundings as they first saw off Bowden by 24 runs in a high-scoring semi-final, and then overpowered Isham to win the final by 45 runs.

Played in a Twenty20 format, with players retiring out once they reached 30, Saints chalked up an impressive 165 for two in their innings against Bowden, with some brilliant hitting from Ollie Holiday (34no), Jake Morrisey (32no) and Ewan Hughes-Rowlands (31no).

Bowden gave it a good go in their response with some powerful hitting of their own, and it was a test for the Saints bowlers to keep on top of them, but they managed it in the end as Bowden were restricted to 144 for five.

For Saints, Krishna Srivinasan, Morrisey and Charlie Mason were among the wickets, while Joe Pearson hit 32 not out and Freddy Verbruggen 30 not out for the Bowden.

The other semi-final saw Isham see off Towcestrians. Tows made 133 for eight, with Josh Stott top-scoring with 31 not out, and then made Isham fight all the way in their reply, but they got home at 133 for six with a little over three overs to spare. Lachlan Glenn took two for 13 for Tows, with Sam Reid hitting 32 not out for Isham, and Hal Robinson 28.

The final was to prove to be another high-scoring affair on an excellent pitch and a lightning outfield - not that Saints batter Holliday used the outfield much in his blistering six-ball 24, which included four sixes!!

Hughes-Rowlands proved to be the main man for Saints this time, finishing on 40 not out (with retired players being allowed back in if enough wickets fall) as his side posted an imposing 170 for eight, with Morrisey making 29.

Isham were never really up with the rate in reply, despite another 32 not out from Reid, as Saints resricted them to 125 for eight.

Mason took two for 18, Finley Shelton two for 12 and Thomas Litchfield two for 16.

The win means Saints now go on to represent Northants in the Regional Finals, and they will play the winner from either Norfolk or Cambridgeshire on Sunday, July 15.