The first of a series of Under 15 Cricket Days took place on December 4th 2011 in Zurich. With twenty-five players from across the country three teams were formed to play three T20 matches. The idea was not only to offer these players competitive matches, but also expose them to as much cricket as possible in one day. Each team played two matches, and the batting orders were reversed in the second matches to allow each player the opportunity to shine both with the bat and ball as well as in the field.
This is an excellent group of young cricketers, enthusiastic, competitive and willing to fight until the final ball of the day. Played in good spirit, there were plenty of runs scored, some outstanding fielding on display and spells of useful bowling, although this is clearly the area in which more work needs to be done. Too many erratic and wayward deliveries are expensive in the indoor version of the game and any loose bowling was punished mercilessly by a number of sharp batsmen who too easily reached a retiring score. The step up from Under 13 cricket can be a sizeable one, with direct hits from throws far more liable to catch players meandering out of their crease or not sprinting between the wickets. And more inexperienced batsmen undoubtedly struggled to hold on to their wickets against bowlers capable of prodigious swing or able to spin the ball both ways.
With further matches scheduled on January 22nd and February 12th and a tournament over the weekend of 31st March/April 1st hosted by the Basel Dragons, and players keen to play at every available opportunity, we are likely to see improvements in all departments before the outdoor season begins for this age group in late April.
The summer then shows all the signs of being a busy season in 2012. Several clubs can now produce Under 15 teams to form a league (Geneva Region Youth CC, Gingins CC, Cossonay CC, Basel Dragons CC and Zurich Crickets CC), and the Zuoz Junior Tournament in May, which in 2012 is being extended to three days, promises to be the toughest ever at this level. The Lyceum Alpinum now also has a number of cricketers at this age. The national Under 15 XI will then depart for Denmark on a four-day tour with two matches against top club teams, and two against the Danish national side at the stunning Svanholm club ground. The final big event of the summer season will possibly be an Under 14/15 national tour to Cambridgeshire in late June/early July.
Match 1: Basel Dragons/Cossonay CC (152 for 3) vs Zurich Crickets CC (193 for 3)
Match 2: Basel Dragons/Cossonay CC (177 for 12) vs Geneva Region Youth CC/Gingins CC (168 for 3)
Match 3: Geneva Region Youth CC/Gingins CC (171 for 7) vs Zurich Crickets CC (159 for 9)