Worcestershire Under-17s conclude their ECB County Championship programme when they take on Devon at Sandford CC in a three-day game starting tomorrow (Tuesday).
The Under-17s will be looking to end the competition on a successful note after drawing with Hampshire and losing in the final session of the games with Somerset and latterly Gloucestershire at Stourport when set a 450 target.
Academy Coach Elliot Wilson, commenting on the performance against Gloucestershire, said: “All credit to the quality of the facilities at Stourport and Eddie Giles and his team produced a hell of a surface.
“Because the surface was as good as it was, we agreed to accept quite a large run chase, 450 which professionals, men, would take a hell of an effort to reach, let alone 16 and 17 year olds.
“We gave it a good go, we batted well, there were contributions from guys all down the order and we got to 360-370.
“We were just short of one of those players getting in and batting for a long period of time. If that had happened, we would have been really close to knocking it off.
“Zain Ul-Hassan top-scored with 72 and if he or Xavie Clarke, Charlie Clist or Pete Clark had gone on and got a hundred, we would have been very close.
“It’s a shame we came up just short but it was a better experience than just batting out the day, wasting the day and going through the motions, because no-one wanted to play a game of cricket.”
Wilson praised the all-round contribution of skipper Zain Ul-Hassan during the game.
He said: “It was a good opportunity, one that was missed, but we learnt a lot about a few people. Zain Ul-Hassan really stood up amongst his peers as a high quality cricketer in our opinion.
“It was the way he went about his business, his contributions as a bowler, as a batter, as captain, was a little bit above everyone else in our opinion and he stood out from the rest of the group.
“Pete Clark, Henry Cullen, Aaron Tomson made some really good contributions and showed some character in that second innings when we were trying to chase down that 450.
“In these games, the two things you really need to do are score 300 in the first innings and you need someone to score you a hundred.
“At Hampshire we scored 300 plus in the first innings and Xavie Clarke got a century and we didn’t lose and at Somerset, whilst Dan Holland scored a magnificent hundred, we didn’t score 300 as a team and we lost.
“In this game, in our meaningful innings, which was the second innings, no-one got a 100 although we scored 350 and that ended up in us falling short and losing the game
“Those two things are important and we didn’t quite have an individual who went onto make a really big score and that hurt us a little bit in the end.”
Wilson is enthused about the forthcoming fixtures as the Academy programme draws towards a climax.
He said: “We are looking at four days at Sandford to wrap up our Under-17 Championship cricket and then we’ve got three weeks of Academy cricket to wrap the summer up.
“We’ve got four weeks to go and four good weeks of cricket to look forward to.”
WORCESTERSHIRE UNDER-17S (FROM):