It’s a case of family ties at Coleraine as Varun makes his mark on First XI

Varun Chopra of Coleriane receives the Danske Bank Performance of the round award from Strabane and NW legend Paddy Gillespie last season.
Varun Chopra of Coleriane receives the Danske Bank Performance of the round award from Strabane and NW legend Paddy Gillespie last season.

The name Chopra has along association with Coleraine Cricket Club, and that proud record looks set to continue into the future.

Vishal, Tim and Rishi Chopra has all represented the Bannsiders with great distinction down the years.

But now there’s a new kid in town in the shape of Varun Chopra.

The 15-year-old is fast becoming the rising star of the Sandel Lodge outfit.

As well as helping Coleraine to the top of the North West Premiership the Coleraine Grammar School student has also tasted success at under age level with Ireland.

The local lad is taking it all in his stride though.

“My family has been involved with Coleraine for quite a few years,” he told Times Sport.

“Obviously my dad Vishal has been about the cricket club for a long time and played for all the teams, but my uncle Tim and brother Rishi are also involved with the Firsts and have helped me and given me advice along the way.

“I guess it just runs in the family.”

The cricket club itself is like one big family and it is one of the reasons why so many young players have broken through in recent years.

Varun paid tribute to all those players who have helped his own game progress.

“Our professional here at Coleraine, Kyllin Vardhan, has really helped me,” he said.

“Niall McDonnell, who also plays at the club and coaches me at Ireland Under-17 has helped me also along with the likes of Gordy Cooke.

“It’s just great to be around these experienced players.

“Scott Campbell is another who has had a huge influence on me.

“To see him come through the ranks and now to be captaining the club is a great inspiration to all the young players.

“I really enjoy playing for the Firsts at Coleraine, hopefully we can finish off the season in style and win the league again.

“We know it’s in our own hands, but we know the games will be tough and we have to make sure we perform in the remaining games.

“There have been a few twists and turns over the last few weeks with all the teams at the top including ourselves dropping points.

“It has certainly made for an exciting end to the season.

“This has been my first full season with the firsts. I’ve been pleased with how I’ve performed so far. I have taken 19 wickets to date and my economy has been pretty good.

“It’s a good test for me playing against senior players and I really enjoy the challenge.”

Varun has also made his mark on the international scene with Ireland.

“Recently I have played in Rugby in England with the Ireland Under-15s, and I was with the Under-17s in Cork and also Scotland.

“It went really well for me. We had a clean sweep in the Under-15s and Under-17s. We played against Guernsey, Jersey, Scotland, Denmark and the Netherlands with the Under-15s.

“I bowled really well and took a lot of wickets in both tournaments.”