Preview for the U13 tournament -
This year's Under-13 tournament starting on Tuesday Morning is taking place on the small island of Mors in the northern part of Jutland, Denmark in the picturesque town of Nykobing. Nykobing has a long tradition in Danish cricket where the sport has been a large part of the town's sporting picture for many years. This means the cricket club boasts two cricket pitches both of which lay close to the water on a small peninsular next door to the youth hostel, which has good bathing facilities. We expect some decent weather so bathing might come in useful in between the matches.
But who is favourite to win this year’s competition? Yes the same question was asked last year and the answer is the same. It is a difficult question to answer simply because all four countries are bringing in new players we haven’t seen before. Denmark certainly and partly the Netherlands will on paper always struggle in comparison to Ireland and Scotland simply because the continent countries don’t play that much cricket in this age group and therefore lack experience. So tradition says it will be a struggle between Ireland and Scotland although the Netherlands surprised last year and beat Scotland so the 3 countries ended with the same points.
The Under 13 Championships have been won by Ireland since 2000 and therefore there's a great expectancy for them to defend the title yet again. But it is difficult to predict as the Irish have nearly a complete new team with them this time. Only captain Ben Wylie was with the team last year in Copenhagen but the side is though yet again coached by Brian Doherty. It would be safe to assume that the success Ireland have had on the senior level and through the age groups have had an effect on the youngest age group so the success will continue.
However Scotland seem to be taking this more seriously if one goes by the preparations. Scotland's under 13 have as part of the warm up been playing matches against Cleveland and Durham and making a good impression. And with Scotland's under 12 playing matches in England as well Scotland are working seriously towards the future. This is a new team with no old faces from last year, although the management is the same. So it will be interesting to see if this well prepared side can threaten the Irish crown and turn the tables over as they did beat Ireland last year in the final match but by not enough.
Last year the Netherlands youth development was under the auspices of Roland Lefebvre and his work has begun to show results as the Netherlands beat Scotland besides beating Denmark. But whether they can continue this is perhaps a different matter. The Dutch side will have three players from last years side so there is a some experience to bulid on.
The hosts from Denmark will be fielding a side with 3 faces seen last year in Copenhagen. This year the team has been looked after by Mickey Lund who works as the Danish Development Officer. He has been organising cricket round Denmark for the young ages and was behind the first unofficial European Under-11 tournament in Copenhagen this year. There is an expectancy that his skills can get this team to produce as preparations have been at a minimum due to a shortage of funds. Denmark will have a team with three players from last year so there is some experience to build on.
So with the prospect of some decent weather we look forward to an exciting tournament like last year.