Friday, December 9th, 2016

County Academy To Compete In Birmingham League Knockout Cup

Worcestershire CCC's Academy side will be competing in the Birmingham and District Premier Cricket League knockout cup competition next season for the Graham Williamson Trophy.

The County have been drawn away to Walmley in the first round on April 15 and, if they are triumphant in that match, will face another away trip to face either Leamington or Dorridge in round two seven days later.

If they lose the Walmley match, then Worcestershire Academy will take on the defeated side in the Leamington-Dorridge game in the plate competition. Warwickshire CCC's Academy team have also been invited to participate.

It will be mandatory for all teams who participate in the competition to play in coloured clothing. and matches will be played with pink balls.

The cup matches will provide a competitive edge for the Academy side who are normally accustomed to staging friendly matches throughout the summer.

But on the same theme the Academy will also be taking part in a Tri-Series with the Northamptonshire CCC and Leicestershire CCC Academy teams.

The three counties will play against each other in three-day, 50 over and T20 formats with points up for grabs to decide the overall winners.

Worcestershire CCC Academy coach Elliot Wilson confirmed: "Worcestershire and Warwickshire CCC's Academys have both been allowed to enter the Birmingham League Knockout Trophy which is played as a pre-season trophy. It is the Graham Williamson Trophy.

"On April 15 and 22 2017, we will have the first round and second rounds and, if you lose in the first round, you go into a plate competition.

"Previously Worcestershire and Warwickshire have had a side in the Birmingham League.

"With a restructuring of the Birmingham League over the next couple of years looking like it is going to happen, the league are keen to have closer ties to Worcestershire and Warwickshire to try and strengthen the quality of the cricket in the league and give the competitions as much credibility as possible.

"There are a semi-final and final dates later in the summer (April 30 and May 28 respectively).

"We have been drawn against Walmley away on April 15 and if we win that we will play the winner of Leamington v Dorridge and, if we lose that,we will play the loser of Leamington v Dorridge again away in the plate competition.

"We have put a request into the club that if New Road were to be available on April 15 or 22, we would make that available to the opposition and ask if they would like to play at New Road.

"Because of last season's challenges with playing cricket in April, the club are trying to stay away from playing cricket here in that period. But, if the ground is available, we will look to bring our opponents down here."

Wilson added: "For our Academy, with where they are at their stage of development, where we've got what are likely to be 15,16, 17 year-olds playing against a Birmingham League men's side, it is going to be two good games of cricket for us.

"It is also a change for us to be competitive in the sense of we are actually playing for something, a trophy.

"We normally don't play for anything. These are competitive games of cricket. It is important for us. The first thing we talked about was if we are allowed in it, we want to try and win it."

As regards the Tri-Series, Wilson said: "Again, along the theme of playing competitive cricket, speaking to a few counterparts across the country about the need for our lads to play some competitive cricket, we have actually set up a Tri-Series with Leicestershire and Northamptonshire's Academys.

"We will each play each other in a three-day game. We will play either Leicestershire or Northamptonshire away and then play one of them at home.

"We will also do the same in the 50 over format and also come together one day for a T20 day where we will all play each other.

"There will be six points awarded for winning a three day game, three points for a draw, three points for winning a 50 over game and two points for winning a T20 match.

"We have made a commitment to do that for the next three years.

"It also means our Academy are going to go on a bit of a road trip in the middle of August where we will play a one-day game at Northampton on the Monday and then go to Leicester on Tuesday-Thursday for a three-day game.

"It is a bit similar to a Second Eleven week away so again it will be good experience for them. The dates for all the fixtures are to be confirmed and we will put them out in the New Year."