Tom Craddock believes Yorkshire can achieve success across the board at Academy/Under 18s level in 2024, the former leg-spinner saying confidence is high within the squad.

The fixtures for the county’s age-group boys have now been set, from Under 12s through to the Academy.

In 2023, Yorkshire’s Academy won their Under 18s North Group in the three-day Championship and reached the nationwide final of the T20 competition, losing out to champions Surrey in September.

The biggest disappointment was that they were knocked out in the second round of the ECB’s 50-over competition by Durham, an FA Cup style knockout event.

“The aim is to win all three competitions, and we’re confident we can do it. There’s no reason why not,” said Craddock, the county’s high performance Academy coach.

“The biggest factor in that is physical fitness because it’s a long season. But the lads are in great shape and can’t wait to get going.”

Both the Championship and T20 competitions will see the county play five group games, and the latter provides one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the entire summer.

This season, the entire six-team North Group will be played across three days from Wednesday May 29 to Friday 31 at Clifton Park in York, a venue which is the home of two Yorkshire Premier League North clubs in York and Clifton Alliance.

Both grounds will be utilised, with Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Durham, Lancashire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire playing each other once to determine the group winner, who will advance to Finals Day on September 8.

The winners of the three groups – North, South and Midlands – qualify for Finals Day, with the best placed team advancing directly through to an afternoon final.

Clifton Park, York

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. The York CC side of the Clifton Park venue, which has been a regular feature on the county cricket calendar in recent years.

Across the three days, counties will play two games on two days and one on another, with each day seeing a total of three games played overall.

It is hoped that supporters of each county will head to the Minster City to see the best young cricketers the North have to offer all playing in one place.

Craddock said: “Jimmy Martin (head of Yorkshire’s performance pathway) got together with the other pathway leads in November and spoke about the pros and cons of how the T20 Cup was organised.

“One of the things we struggled with is that previously the T20s have been played sporadically across a three-week period. And you struggle for momentum that way. There’s also the factor that lads are studying in that time as well.

“So what we’ve done is find a three-day block where we can all get together and play the whole of the North Group.

“That allows lads to get into some rhythm, and it’s a cool way to ramp up the pressure. We have three days to nail our skills. If it doesn’t go well, we can’t come back next week and give it a go. This is it.

“To face a number of different challenges across three days is very exciting.”

Craddock continued: “It will be an awesome few days, and I think it will be the way forward.

“It will be interesting to see if the other counties outside of the North pick it up.

“It’s taken a bit of organising, but we will hopefully have fans from five different counties wanting to come down and watch.”

Tom Craddock

Picture by YCCC. Tom Craddock, Yorkshire’s high performance Academy coach.

The summer starts with a two-day residential for Yorkshire’s Academy and Emerging Players Programme squads at Worksop College on April 4 and 5.

Craddock said: “Huge kudos to Jack Stockdale (operations manager for Yorkshire’s boys’ performance pathway), who have worked really hard on making sure the fixtures mirror the flow of the season for the second team.

“It’s red ball, a block of white ball and then red ball again, which is how the twos stuff goes. The intention is that if any of the lads get called up to the seconds, they’re in that rhythm.

“The worst thing we could have done would be to be playing T20 when the seconds are playing four-dayers. You’re not really giving the players the best chance for success.”

A host one-day friendlies have been lined up through April to start the summer.

“We’re playing a number of club sides – Barnsley, Methley, York and Scarborough, and they will be good challenges for the boys,” said Craddock.

“Then we have a couple of two-day games to go alongside the seconds playing red ball.

“We also have some T20 friendlies, including against the England Physical Disability team. They will be a great test with plenty of skilful players in their team.

“We’re also at Driffield Town as well because it’s their 150th Anniversary, I believe. That will be a big day for Noah Kelly!

“That all leads into the three-day North Group T20 festival.

“We then move into the 50-over comp, which saw us knocked out in the second round by Durham last year. We start with Cumbria away on June 30.

“That moves into a second round, quarter-final, semi and the final.

“We have a decent number of 50-over games as warm-ups because if you don’t add those in, you’re only potentially playing one 50-over game all summer.

“We then move into the red ball stuff from July onwards. We have a couple of good friendlies at home against Surrey and Lancashire (both three days) before our five Championship games through until the end of August.

“Last year, we finished top of our North Group in the Championship stuff, which is as far as we can go. There’s no national final in that.”

YORKSHIRE ACADEMY/UNDER 18s, 2024 (Home in bold)

APRIL 

Sun 14 April Barnsley Woolley Miners, 50-over F, Barnsley

Sun 14 April Methley, 50-over F, Methley

SUN 21 APRIL YORK, 50-over F, WEETWOOD 

Sun 21 April Scarborough, 50-over F, Scarborough

Wed 24 April Worksop College, 40-over F, Worksop College

SUN 28 APRIL NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, 50-over F, WEETWOOD 

MAY

WED 1-2 MAY DURHAM, 2-day F, TBC 

Mon 6 May Northamptonshire, T20 F x2 , TBC

WED 8-9 MAY LANCASHIRE, 2-day F, BRADFORD PARK AVE 

SUN 19 MAY ENGLAND PHYSICAL DISABILITY, T20 F x2, WEETWOOD

MON 20 MAY ARMED FORCES, T20 Fx2, SHERIFF HUTTON BRIDGE

Mon 27 May Driffield Town, T20 F x2, Driffield

WED 29-31 MAY ECB T20 NORTH GROUP STAGE, YORK/CLIFTON ALLIANCE

JUNE 

SUN 16 JUNE LANCASHIRE, 50-over F, TBC 

Fri 21 June Sedbergh School 1st XI, 50-over F, Sedbergh

Tues 25 June Northamptonshire, 50-over F, Peterborough Town

THURS 27 JUNE WARWICKSHIRE, 50-over F, TBC 

Sun 30 June Cumbria, ECB 50-over Cup, TBC

JULY

TUES 9-11 JULY SURREY, 3-day F, WEETWOOD

TUES 16-18 JULY LANCASHIRE, 3-day F, TBC

TUES 23-25 JULY LEICESTERSHIRE, U18 CC – 3-day, WEETWOOD 

Tues 30 July – 1 August Durham, U18 CC, Hartlepool

AUGUST 

TUES 6-8 AUGUST DERBYSHIRE, U18 CC, WEETWOOD 

Mon 12-14 August Lancashire, U18 CC, Southport

TUES 27-29 AUGUST NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, U18 CC, WEETWOOD 

SEPTEMBER

Sun 1 September ECB County Cup Final, TBC

Sun 8 September ECB T20 Finals Day, TBC

NB. Yorkshire’s Academy are also due to play some intra-squad friendlies throughout the summer, while they have a quartet of T20 friendlies scheduled for early June against Under 21 inter-league sides from the county’s four Premier Leagues. Dates have yet to be finalised.

Check www.yorkccc.play-cricket.com for fixtures which will be updated when finalised.

All other age-group fixtures are also available via the same PlayCricket link.

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