Another year of bad weather in May and June, still didn't manage to slow down school's cricket. We fielded teams at every age group on a weekly basis showing much promise for the future of CGS cricket.
Our Saturday cricket, now in its fourth year, is very well established, giving many pupils the opportunity to play more frequently. We had many memorable wins throughout the year, at different age groups in our Saturday league. This year's fixtures included trips to Ballymena Academy, Coleraine A I, Dungannon Royal, Armagh Royal along with our usual local derbies against Belfast High School and Larne Grammar.
We also continue to have very close links with Carrickfergus Cricket Club who often provide facilities and help where we need it throughout the season.
Our U12 team have had a hard fought and challenging season. With the vast majority being newcomers to the game there was a steep learning curve but enthusiasm and determination shone through in abundance which should bode well for this team as they move up through the ranks. With many of this year group now also playing club cricket, we will hopefully be reaping the benefits in the not too distant future. Notable performances against Dungannon Royal and an excellent batting display against Ballymena Academy were highlights of the season. Players to watch for in the future are James McNeilly, Ben Crook and Jack Magill. As ever the finale of our U12 season was the Myles Cup which is the local area competition run in partnership with the cricket club which has been contested now for over 40 years. The final saw us face our local rivals Belfast High School. We had high hopes having won the cup for 4 years running, however, on this occasion they proved just too strong for us and we finished in 2nd place.
The U13 XI captained by Kyle Hutton had a very successful season. They are showing real signs of being a force to be reckoned with in the future. They enjoyed a nail biting victory against local rivals Belfast High School in the Saturday league, however, the run they had in the Mourne Cup was the highlight of their season. After a bye in the first round, stage two saw them bat well against a formidable bowling outfit to beat a strong RS Armagh. This enabled them to progress to the quarter final where they had a comfortable win over a Campbell College team. After this glorious run, the semi final proved to be just too much for them where they were beaten by the eventual winners RBAI. The real key to the success of this team however is their team spirit. Throughout the season, whether faced with defeat or a win, they really worked together and encouragement was always in abundance on the field.
The U14XI also had a good season with both bat and ball. In their mid week league, they defeated Parkhall College but failed to make it out of the group after a defeat at the hands of Sullivan Upper. After a difficult draw in the cup, they were beaten by Coleraine A.I. Their Saturday league was more successful however, where they enjoyed strong wins over Royal School Dungannon and a comprehensive victory against Belfast High School at Irwin Park where Marc Ellison scored an extraordinary 107 runs on his own - the first person in the history of the school to score a competitive century. Both Marc and Simon Scott from the U14 went on to represent the school at First XI level – quite an achievement for U14 players.
U15 cricket proved to be very popular with much strength and depth at that year level. Matt Campbell and Jonathan McMaw showed a lot of promise and also represented the first XI at various stages. All the usual fixtures took place with schools such as Belfast High School, Larne Grammar and Ballymena Academy. The performance of the season however was in the U15 cup where we came up against RBAI in the first round at Irwin Park. The visitors notched up a total of 125 runs against our bowling attack and although we eventually went on to narrowly lose the match, a captain's knock of 85 from opening batsman Matt Campbell quite rightly earned him the man of the match. There were also solid performances throughout the year from Scott Williams, Harry Gordon and Ryan Clarke meaning they will be knocking on the door for 1st XI selection next season.
The first XI had an unusual season . Due to other commitments, we were unable to field a team most Saturdays. Despite this we did manage to get a team together to enter the School's Cup, Ulster's premier schools competition. In the first round we travelled to Grosvenor to meet their second XI. After an opening partnership of over 100 from Richard Hood and Adam Fittis who scored an excellent 82 and 49 respectively, we ended up with 153 off the 25 overs. We then held Grosvenor to 100 giving us a 53 run victory; Carrickfergus Grammar School's first ever victory in the Cup.
The second round saw us entertain Friend's School Lisburn at Irwin Park. As in the first round, we won the toss and batted first. Our opener Richard Hood again took control of the game scoring an unbeaten 99 not out… agonisingly close to a century! We finished the innings with 183 runs. Our bowlers held Friends to 129 meaning we progressed to the quarter final.
A seven thirty start at the turning circle on an unusually sunny Saturday morning had us travelling to Limavady Grammar School. Batting first had proven successful for us in the first two rounds however on this occasion, Limavady's strong bowling attack held us to 100 runs. Their top order batsmen also proved just too strong for us and although we took 3 good wickets, we eventually lost by 7 wickets to a very strong team.
As mentioned, the excellent performance from the first XI was largely due to the top notch cricket played with both bat and ball from our captain Richard Hood. This didn't go unnoticed by the representative selectors and during the summer, Richard was then selected to play Ulster School's Cricket team for their tour to England. As well as this, he also represented the Northern Cricket Union U18 team at club level. This is again another first for Carrickfergus Grammar School and many congratulations go to Richard for such an achievement.
As you can see, CGS cricket really is going from strength to strength and we are competing every week at a high level. As we go to press, the 2013 season is up and underway so we have our fingers crossed for good weather and you can look forward to reading about even more success in the next magazine!
Finally a big thank you must go to Mr Macdonald, Mr Irwin, Mr Martin, and Mr Reid who have given up a lot of their time mid-week and at weekends to coach and umpire the teams.