As the curtain is drawn on this year’s cricket season, the Ribble Valley can reflect on it’s most successful ever season at district level.
District cricket represents the best young cricketers at club level, and this year was the first season where Under 11s, 13s and 15s were represented in both the boys’ and girls’ competitions.
The highlight of the season saw the Under 11s boys, managed and coached by Mick Dewhurst, crowned Lancashire champions as they saw off Rossendale in the final. The side also made their way to the regional cup semi-finals, unfortunately succumbing to Bolton by one wicket.
The Under 13s boys also had a successful season, reaching both the Lancashire final and the regional cup final, but they fell short on both occasions, losing to Hyndburn and Bolton respectively.
Continuing the trend the Under 15s team progressed into the regional cup as runners-up only to face eventual winners Tameside in the quarter finals.
The Ribble Valley girls, managed by Derrick Smith, were equally as successful but unfortunately had a curtailed season due to bad weather.
The Under 11s could only manage a single festival, in which they came out winners, beating Burnley, Bury and Rossendale districts.
The reigning county champions also won the West Lancashire Indoor Trophy to continue their successful run.
The U13’s squad managed more cricket and amazingly won every match in each of their three festivals to remain unbeaten.
For the first time an Under 15s team was entered into the Lancashire competition, which will enable the current Under 11s and 13s to continue playing at the highest level for years to come, as well as allowing those at Under 15 level an opportunity to play a higher standard of cricket. Unfortunately an inexperienced squad lost all three of their matches, although the match practice they gained was invaluble.
Success wasn’t just through results, as many of the Ribble Valley squad members were selected to play for Lancashire. Sam Mulligan has been selected for the County Under 11s after impressing during the summer, while Joe Noone, Charlie Dewhurst, Frankie Jackson and Harry Lang have all been selected for Lancashire Under 12s Winter training programme. The girls have also been rewarded for their excellent performances throughout the season as Niamh Kay, Martha Smith and Annabel Mayson were all chosen to represent Lancashire Girls’ Under 11s during the summer.
Sam Jackson and Josh Bristol were selected for county honours at Under 13s whilst Longridge’s Emma Simpson was chosen as wicketkeeper for the county girls’ Under 13s, who were crowned national champions.
Dan Fitzgerald and Sam Bristol were also selected to play for North Lancashire at Under 16 level.