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NCCC Academy u17 trio help Midlands secure Super 4 trophy

Ben Claydon and Jack Haynes formed a devastating Northamptonshire-Worcestershire combination as the Midlands maintained their dominance of the Super-4 Festival for the country’s outstanding Under-17s in Loughborough today.

They put on 147 inside 18 overs as the Midlands cruised to a nine-wicket win against the South West in the final of the T20 competition – having already won the 50-over series earlier this week with a clean sweep of three victories.

Haynes, who is following in the footsteps of his father Gavin at Worcestershire, hit 79 from 59 balls with 10 fours and three sixes.

Claydon, a powerful right-hander from Cambridge who plays for Northamptonshire – and whose father Russell was a successful golfer on the PGA tour – ended unbeaten on 57 from 52 balls, with four fours and two sixes.

Haynes’s Worcestershire team-mate Adam Finch was presented with the T20 trophy by England Under-19 selector David Graveney, while Claydon received the 50-over trophy after captaining the Midlands at the start of the week.

The Nottinghamshire pair of Joe Cook (39 from 10 balls) and Nick Kimber (two for 22) had both made significant contributions to their semi final win against the North, with Claydon’s Northants team-mate Adam King also playing an important innings of 44.

Elliot Wilson, the Worcestershire Academy director who coached the Midlands, said: “We couldn’t have asked for more from the lads, and they’ve really deserved their success.

“It’s my first time coaching a team here and I’ve been really impressed, both by the organisation of the event and the quality of the cricket. And wearing my Worcestershire hat, it was great to see our lads all making contributions to the Midlands team success.”

Wilson was assisted by Mal Loye, the former Northamptonshire, Lancashire and England batsman, who is now Derbyshire’s development coach.

“It’s my first time here and I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Loye. “Bringing the best under-17s from around the country together makes a lot of sense. Obviously the main aim is about development, but we said to the lads at the start of the week that we wanted to win. They’ve been excellent, on and off the field.”

Ed Fluck, an opening batsman from Alderley Edge in Cheshire who is in the Lancashire Academy, was named Player of the Week after scoring centuries in two of the North’s three 50-over matches.

“At the start of the week I challenged all the players to put their hands up and impress the Young Lions selectors, with places up for grabs before we select our squads for this winter which ends with the ICC Under-19 World Cup,” said Graveney.

“It’s been exciting to see so many of them do that.”

Somerset’s Tom Lammonby, who was named England’s best player in the recent Royal London One-Day Series against India Under-19s, played a key role in steering South West to the T20 final, scoring 71 off 49 balls in their semi final against London and East, after taking two for 22.

Will Smeed, a King’s Taunton pupil who is still only 15 and impressed in the recent Bunbury Festival, also hit a half century.

But it needed their captain Tom Bevan of Glamorgan – son of the former England fitness coach Huw – to hit a six off the last ball to snatch a dramatic win.

Kent wicketkeeper Jordan Cox had hit 75 not out from 40 balls with nine fours and two sixes for London and East, with Savin Perera of Middlesex continuing his consistent week with 61 from 45.

London and East then beat the North in the third and fourth place play-off, with two wickets each for Essex seamer Ben Allison and Middlesex all-rounder Luke Hollman.

Mo Bobat, the ECB’s player identification lead, said: “This is the fifth year of the Super-4s, and again it’s served its purpose of giving us the chance to see the best playing the best at this important age group.

“The games have been played on excellent pitches at Loughborough, and the tournament has again benefited from the involvement of county academy directors and coaches – as well as the presence of England lead coaches like Andy Flower and Mark Ramprakash, plus county scouts and even an England selector.”

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