Cricket flourishing at CAI

The cricketing summer of 2011 brought with it an air of enthusiasm and anticipation from staff and pupils alike at Coleraine Inst.

Mr Boyd continued his role as Head of Cricket and the appointment of Mr Scott helped to strengthen the coaching team at the school of Mr Gaston, Mr Stewart, Mr Knox, Mr Palmer and Mr McGregor. For the first time in a number of years the school fielded six teams in cup and league competitions.

The Under 12s coached by Mr Boyd had a good season. Over 25 boys turned out for practice, which made selecting the team extremely difficult. What the boys lacked in cricketing experience they more than made up for in enthusiasm and raw talent. Irish International, Scott Torrens was captain of the side and had an impressive season with both bat and ball.

The side were competitive in every fixture and ran Grosvenor GS very close on finals day, losing by 4 wickets against a strong and experienced outfit.

The Under 13s coached by Mr McGregor and Mr Scott had a mixed season with some excellent victories combined with some heavy defeats. Like the Under 12s, great enthusiasm and commitment was shown throughout the season and this laid the foundations for the side to reach the final of the cup, losing out to a strong Holy Cross HS team on the day. Callum Smith, Euan Louden and William Millar were the standout performers throughout the season and this side should be more than competitive again next season.

Inst Under 14s under the guidance of Mr Gaston participated in the under 14 league-cup competition and after big wins against Dalriada, Limavady GS and Carrick GS they eventually lost out to a very strong RBAI side at the semi final stage. In the cup, the Under 14s produced the result of the season, disposing of Campbell College in an exciting encounter. In the league the side remained unbeaten, including a fantastic win over Grosvenor on finals day. Matthew Smyth, Alistair Corbett, Ross McDowwell and Stephen Hutchinson lead the team to a very successful and consistent season.

The Colts coached by Mr Stewart had a frustrating season with bad weather playing a huge part in the number of fixtures in which the boys could participate. However, the boys had an excellent Colts cup run, disposing of Ballyclare High and RBAI in the first two rounds before they eventually lost out to an impressive Grosvenor side in the quarter finals. Matthew Douglas is a real talent, who performed well with the gloves throughout the year and was ably assisted by North West Under 15 Captain Rishi Chopra and pace bowler Michael MaCrailed.

The 1st XI coached by Mr Knox and Mr Palmer was extremely competitive again this season. Captained by Andrew Douglas, the side netted well during pre season and showed great team sprit from the outset. In the Schools’ Cup the boys disposed of Wallace HS 2nds without any trouble and set themselves up for an exciting third round fixture against one of the cup favourites Regent House, at Comber.

Regent posted an impressive total in the first innings but a superb 77 by Scott Campbell put victory well within Inst’s grasp but some steady bowling in the final two overs from Regent meant that the boys from Coleraine fell an agonising 2 runs short in a thrilling encounter. Although losing out in the Schools’ Cup, the team continued to dominate the Saturday morning league with a number of convincing victories against Carrick GS, Larne GS, Dalriada, Belfast High and Ballymena Academy.

With the ball Andrew Douglas, Rishi Chopra and Jay Dee Ferguson were all steady performers. All rounder Scott Campbell proved why he is a force to be reckoned with. Throughout the season he produced some fantastic individual displays with both bat and ball, including 77 runs against Regent in the Schools Cup and 5-14 on finals day against Grosvenor GS. Paul Douglas produced the innings of the school year with an impressive 121 against Ballymena Academy in the penultimate game of the season.

On an Individual level congratulations must be extended to Scott Torrens, Matthew Smyth, Matthew Douglas, Rishi Chopra and Paul Douglas who have all been selected to represent the school at Interprovincial level. Scott Campbell continued to further his credentials with selection for Ulster Schools, Ireland Under 19s and most recently Ireland A.

2011 proved to be an extremely successful season for cricket at Coleraine Inst, with the school as a whole winning the Saturday morning league and narrowly missing out to Grosvenor GS in the promotion playoff. Alongside this, a number of the junior sides competed at the latter stages of the majority of all cup competitions.

Participation levels continue to be on the increase across the board and the introduction of new training equipment and playing facilities for the 2012 season should help to ensure CAI are again a strong cricketing force within the Province. Winter nets will commence in December and with more work in partnership with the Coleraine Cricket club, hopefully the game of cricket will continue to grow and flourish at the school for many years to come.