Redbridge youngsters aim to conquer house of Lord’s
PUBLISHED: 13:00 26 February 2016
The boys and girls will be taking part in London Youth Games finals on Sunday
Redbridge cricket coach Mahesh Velani is hopeful the experience of his boys will see them claim a medal at the London Youth Games finals at Lord’s this weekend.
They qualified for Sunday’s big day by coming through a group containing local rivals Barking & Dagenham, Brent and Southwark.
They earned a bronze last year after losing to Tower Hamlets in the last four, but aim to reach the final this time.
“We are looking forward to it and it’s the fourth year in a row we have been to Lord’s so it should be another good day,” said Velani.
“Hopefully we can get a medal at the end of it. We will be aiming for gold obviously, but we will be happy with any kind of medal.
“The boys did well during the qualifying so we want them to take that form into the weekend.”
Redbridge will have to face Merton in the quarter-finals, but Velani is confident his youngsters can come through that challenge.
He revealed who he believes are among the favourites to win the whole competition on Sunday.
“We don’t know too much about Merton, but having made the final so many times before we know our strengths,” added Velani.
“If we can play to the best of our ability we should have too much for them on the day.
“I think Hillingdon are on our side of the draw and they won it last year. Tower Hamlets beat us in the semis so they are another side that is always strong.
“If we are to win the competition we are going to have to face one or both of them, so I expect they will be our main challengers.”
As Velani previously mentioned, Redbridge are no strangers to the Lord’s final and won the event as recently as 2014.
They always try and retain a large group of players, who have featured in the tournament before, whenever they pick their squad for the following season.
And this year they have plenty, which should help settle the nerves of anybody taking part at the home of cricket for the first time.
Velani added: “What we try to do is have a couple of guys that have played in previous years. We have six or seven in the group that were involved in the 2015 finals.
“I am hoping they will use that experience and pass on any advice they can to the guys that haven’t made it here before.”
Velani believes that experience can be key and help them earn more reward this weekend.
Judging by recent performances, you wouldn’t bet against them earning more success.
Redbridge’s girls will also be looking to impress after qualifying for the finals as well.
Saba Nasim’s squad put in two encouraging displays to finish top of their group ahead of City of London and Westminster.
It ensured they also made the last eight and they will take on Bexley at Lord’s this weekend.
Last year they picked up a silver medal after losing to Bromley in the final, but it is a much-changed squad this time around.
Nevertheless, Nasim and her girls will hope to enjoy the day.
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