Photo Credit: Cricket Ireland
Ireland Academy are heading back to Malaga, Spain for ‘Championship Week’ at the European Cricket Championships (ECC) – the squad will see one change with Matthew Weldon replacing John McNally.
Having come through the group stages to qualify, Ireland will face fellow group winners Spain, Italy, Jersey, England, and Germany, along with 2022 champions the Netherlands who qualified directly to Championship Week.
It’s a fast-paced tournament, with six matches over four days. Should Ireland finish in the top four in the group they will face further matches on Friday, 20 October, with Eliminator, Qualifier One and Two, and the Final all taking place on that day.
There is one change to the Ireland squad, with 17-year-old Matthew Weldon of The Hills Cricket Club replacing Clontarf’s John McNally due to school commitments.
Matthew was speaking prior to flying out to Spain on Sunday evening.
On his call-up to the squad for Championship Week, Matthew said:
“It was really exciting to get the call. It’s a fantastic opportunity to play in a competitive environment and to develop my cricket in a different format. The weather in Spain is definitely a bonus, and it’s brilliant to get to play competitive cricket at this stage of the year.
“The team played really well in the qualifiers and I’m lucky to get the opportunity to be part of it. It’s a new format to me, but from watching a few games and looking at the scorecards it obvious that anything can happen. It’s a very different attacking format and I’m sure it will present me with different, and new challenges, but I’m looking forward to putting all my skills to the test in the competition, and hopefully I can add to the teams overall performance.”
What has the coaching staff said to you about what to expect over in Spain:
“They’ve said that anything can happen in T10 cricket, and to play it without fear. I’m coming in as part a strong seam attack with Ollie and Adam and that conditions will be very different to Ireland, with the pitch being a bit harder and bouncier on the mat. It’s a good chance to perform in a very competitive environment in some nice weather. So hopefully we can take advantage of that.”
You’ve played a lot of representative cricket this year. You were part of the Under-19 squad that went to South Africa, and also played Future Series, Youth Inter-Pros, and for the Under-19s in that famous win over England Under-19s. How would you look back on your year so far:
“I’m really happy with the amount of competitive cricket that I’ve got to play this year. I feel that my game has become more consistent and that I’ve improved throughout the year. I’ve been very lucky with the coaches and players that I’ve been with this year in The Hills, national and provincial teams. Being involved with the Inter-Pros has been a great experience. Training and playing with international players has taught me a lot. The trips with the Under-19s to South Africa, Scotland and England were unreal, but the highlight of the year was certainly the trip to Loughborough to represent Ireland Under-19s. To be part of the team that beat England was a really proud moment, and one that I won’t forget in a hurry. Hopefully there will be more success this week!”
And with an Under-19 world cup coming up early next year, no doubt you’re hoping to be part of that squad:
“It would be amazing to get selected to represent my country in the World Cup. The Under-19 squad is a great bunch of lads where I’ve made many life friends and it’s been a brilliant journey so far. All I can do is focus on what I can control and work hard in the run up to give myself a good chance of being selected.”
All fixtures will be played at the Cartama Oval in Malaga, Spain.
16 October: Ireland Academy v Spain (starts 3pm Irish time)
16 October: Ireland Academy v Germany (starts 7.30pm Irish time)
17 October: Ireland Academy v Netherlands (starts 3pm Irish time)
18 October: Ireland Academy v Jersey (starts 8.30am Irish time)
19 October: Ireland Academy v England (starts 10.30am Irish time)
19 October: Ireland Academy v Italy (starts 3pm Irish time)
20 October: Qualifier One (starts 10.30am Irish time)
20 October: Eliminator (starts 1.00pm Irish time
20 October: Qualifier Two (starts 4pm Irish time)
20 October: Final (starts 7.30pm Irish time)
IRELAND ACADEMY SQUAD
Sam Harbinson (Merrion) (captain), Seamus Lynch (Terenure), Liam Doherty (Eglinton), Cameron Melly (Brigade), Tim Tector (YMCA), Scott Macbeth (Brigade), Gavin Hoey (Trinity/Pembroke), Jared Wilson (Cliftonville Academy), Matthew Weldon (The Hills), Carson McCullough (CIYMS), Olly Riley (YMCA), Mike Frost (Malahide), Adam Kennedy (CIYMS).
Head Coach: Peter Johnston
Assistant Coach/Manager: Albert van der Merwe