Schools’ cricket in Yorkshire is thriving. 

That is the view from two national champions from within the county, Scarborough College and St Peter’s School, York. 

Over the last fortnight, both have won national titles at different age-groups. St Peter’s even did it at Lord’s. 

The St Peter’s first team beat Millfield School from Taunton in the Schools Open T20 Cup two Fridays ago, while Scarborough’s Under 15s beat their counterparts from Millfield in the English Schools Cricket Association One-Day Cup at Oakham last Tuesday.

Scarborough captain Ben Squires is on Yorkshire’s Emerging Players Programme, while Will Bennison – the player-of-the-match for St Peter’s – is an Academy player at Headingley. 

St Peter’s head of cricket Gareth Sharp said: “It was wonderful to beat Millfield at the ‘Home of Cricket’.

“Their pedigree goes back a long, long way, and they have produced so many household names. 

“Looking on the trophy, I think they’ve won it eight times since this competition started in 2004.

“We become only the third school from the North of England to win it, but I think it highlights some positivity regarding the state of the game in Yorkshire, and in the North.”

Guy Emmett, headmaster at Scarborough College, echoed Sharp’s thoughts and expanded: “Cricket is going from strength to strength in the county, with more teams entering competitions and the excellent outreach of clubs ensuring all children have the chance to play the great game. 

“I’m delighted by what St Peter’s York and Scarborough College have achieved, but I’m also thrilled to see the strength of schools such as Ryedale School and various primary schools across Yorkshire, who have some incredibly strong teams. 

“Whilst we celebrate the success of our boys’ teams, I also congratulate our girls’ teams, with our Under 15s reaching the last 16 in England. Our first XI also progressed to a national quarter-final. 

Scarborough College

Picture courtesy of Scarborough College. Scarborough College’s Under 15s celebrate national success at Oakham School last week.

“Many schools have a number of girls’ teams, and this year our Under 7s played against six different schools.

“A major reason for the growing standard of girls’ cricket across the county has been the outreach programme from the Yorkshire Cricket Board and the excellent work of numerous volunteers across Yorkshire.

“From the MCC hubs, to clubs and to all schools –  both state and independent – more children are playing cricket, and it’s a joy to see.”

Below, we take a look at the both the recent successes of Scarborough and St Peter’s.

St Peter’s School’s first XI claimed a 44-run success in the very best way possible – by winning at Lord’s to become the Under 18s National Schools T20 Cup champions on Friday June 28.

The York side were helped by Yorkshire Academy and Emerging Players Programme duo Will Bennison and Monty Dodsworth.

Somerset professional and England U19s player Archie Vaughan captained the opposition.

Bennison hit 97 off 48 balls to help St Peter’s post a 155 total before bowling the visitors out for 111.

“It was proud day for our school and an amazing experience for our players, coaching staff, and pupils who were there supporting,” said head of cricket Gareth Sharp. 

“MCC did it properly. There was no holding back – lunch in the players’ dining room, dressing room attendants, net practice on the Nursery Ground, full access to the pavilion. 

“We got a real taste of what it would be like to be there as an international or professional player. 

“Few professionals get to play at Lord’s, let alone play in a final. So, it was an incredibly special day for the players, and their families too.”

St Peter's School

Picture courtesy of St Peter’s School. The St Peter’s first-team triumphed at Lord’s late last month.

St Peter’s – Jonny Bairstow’s former school – progressed through seven rounds to reach the final, including a win over Shrewsbury in the semi-final and Myerscough College in the quarters.

“We dominated quite considerably in every game we played throughout the competition,” reflected Sharp.

“One of the highlights of the day was having the home dressing room for the final because we were the team with the highest net run-rate through the competition.”

Cheered on by a decent sized travelling contingent, Bennison led the way for the York side – captained by Hugo Nixon – as he backed up his 97, with three wickets in the successful defence.

“Wills has been with us since he was 9 or 10, and he played magnificently,” said Sharp, before hailing his side’s collective strengths. 

“He was outstanding for his 97 and was well supported in the second innings by the whole team. 

“The boys bowled and fielded exceptionally. Hugo Nixon’s run-out at extra cover and Harry Robinson’s catch in the deep were breathtaking, and the left-arm spin of Monty Dodsworth and Cris Gwilliam Lopez never let the Millfield batters settle.

“Cris recently earned a call-up to the Spanish national team.”

Sharp runs a successful programme at the school and is supported by director of sport Chris McTurk and coaches Sam Grant, Matt Milnes, and Chris Wood. 

“St Peter’s Under 12s are also county champions, and the Under 17s made it to the semi-finals of the National Cricket Paper Cup this summer too.

Headmaster Jeremy Walker added: “I could not be prouder of the players and their coaches on this outstanding achievement.

“To come through against such strong competition, with over 200 schools entered, and win the final at Lord’s is a memory that will stand the test of time.”

St Peter's School

Picture courtesy of St Peter’s School. A travelling contingent from York headed down to Lord’s and were rewarded with a win over Millfield.

Headmaster Guy Emmett hailed an “exceptional team” after Scarborough College’s Under 15s became the first Yorkshire school to win the English Schools Cricket Association One-Day Cup last week.

Scarborough beat 13-time champions Millfield School in the 50-over final at Leicestershire’s picturesque Oakham School on Tuesday – by 62 runs defending their imposing 305-4 total.

Aminda Weerasooriya led the way with a superb unbeaten 98, while captain Ben Squires, who is on Yorkshire’s Emerging Players Programme, provided excellent support with 89 as Scarborough made the highest score in a final of a competition which has been running since 1972.

Weerasooriya, player-of-the-match, and Squires then continued their memorable days by getting amongst the wickets. Weerasooriya claimed three, as did Tom Hiley. Harry Hutchinson also struck twice as Millfield were bowled out for 243.

Scarborough’s route to glory started last summer in an 1,100 strong field. 

County champions, they went on to beat the likes of Monkwearmouth School from Sunderland, the King’s School Macclesfield and Trent College from Nottingham. They then beat Bromsgrove School in a home semi-final.

Millfield had never previously lost a final in this competition.

Captain Squires was handed the cup in front of parents, families, college staff, coaches and Headmaster Emmett. 

Head of cricket Piet Rinke, assistant head of cricket Stuart Guy, director of sport Rob Kench, plus guest coaches such as Ryan Sidebottom, Stephen Parry and Craig White have all played their part in this triumph.

Scarborough’s team includes no fewer than nine players who hail from the local area, and they could be celebrating double success come September time.

Emmett said: “Congratulations to the full squad for becoming national champions and for also reaching the National T20 Finals Day at Arundel Castle in September.

“Thank you to the coaches, the boys’ families for the many miles they have driven to support their children and to the clubs where these boys play.

Scarborough College

Picture courtesy of Scarborough College. Scarborough’s national success is further proof that schools’ cricket is thriving in Yorkshire.

“Combined, they have inspired a group of young players to achieve something unique for any Yorkshire School since the competition began in 1972.

“Success requires hard work and a great team spirit. Well done boys.”

Rinke is a former Zimbabwe international all-rounder who played 18 ODIs in 2006. He is also a former captain of Scarborough Cricket Club.

He added: “As a school, we provide opportunities for personal development and growth, and the boys have made the most of these. Their commitment and dedication has resulted in this success.”

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