The King's School Macclesfield's young cricketers are making their mark on the national stage. The U13s will play in the final of the prestigious David English Bunbury National School's Cup on July 6 against Dulwich College at Oakham School and the U12s have been crowned Cheshire County Champions after beating Birkenhead.
The U13s boast four county players in their ranks with two of the young men, Liam Yahathugoda and Joe Moores, already playing at first team level, an astonishing six years ahead of their year group.
The U13s qualified for the national final by winning their county championship last year and started their campaign by beating Manchester Grammar by 60 runs. Star of the show was the prolific Liam Yahathugoda, who learned his trade under his father, a former Sri Lankan under 19 player, and combines wonderful powers of concentration with powerful but orthodox stroke play.
Head of Cricket Steve Moores said: "Liam builds each innings with great care and discipline, taking his time to get in but then becoming expansive, even explosive, with some powerful straight hitting. He has a mature head on young shoulders."
Liam's century and an unbeaten half century from Alfie Usher saw King's set a target of 244 that MGS were never about to reach in the 30 overs game.
Liam repeated his brilliant ton-up antics in the next game against St. Peter's York in the North Semi-Final. Another convincing win against Sedbergh saw King's winning the Northern regional final.
The national semi-final against Warwick School saw wicketkeeper batsman Joe Moores rattle off an 83 not out and Liam another 50 as they chased down 156 in a superbly paced innings.
The team have been indebted to fellow county players, opening bat Leo Burns and off-spinning all-rounder Alfie Usher who have both been in the runs and wickets. Opening strike bowler Ollie Price and the artful leg spinner Adi Nair have also made significant contributions but the cup run has been a genuine team effort.
The U12s qualified for the same competition next year by beating Birkenhead in the Cheshire final. They skilfully chased down 102 with Lucas Burns, younger brother of Leo, notching a well-crafted 39 runs to lift the title.
The King's under-13 team line up after their win at the new King's campus
The King's under-12s celebrate their county championship trophy