Updated: Oct 13
The Sunrisers Academy enjoyed another summer on and off the pitch in 2023, with the side producing a number of strong performances to continue assert themselves in the regional setup.
Off the field, Esmae MacGregor and Amu Surenkumar were the latest to be awarded their Senior debuts – taking the number of Academy graduates in the 2023 squad up to eight, almost half of the squad of nineteen.
The Academy season started in April, with the annual Regional Academy Festival taking place down in Taunton. Unfortunately, due to the wet weather that we had in April, there was not much play possible over the three days.
In the one game that went ahead, we faced Thunder in a ten-over game. Bowling first, we managed to restrict our opponents to 53/5, with eight bowlers used. In reply, Surenkumar’s 15* was not enough to guide us to the target, as Sunrisers finished five runs short.
Two weeks later, the side then faced The Blaze in the first fifty over game of the season. Batting first, Sunrisers posted 159 thanks to 29 from MacGregor, before bowling the visitors out for 127 – Riva Pindoria (4/25) and MacGregor (3/13) the pick of the bowlers.
At the end of May, we hosted South East Stars in two T20 friendly matches at Teddington CC. In the first game, Hannah Davis (3/7) and Evie Booker (2/8) helped us limit Stars to 122/7, which was chased five down – Surenkumar hitting 22. In the second game, we batted first to post 141/7, MacGregor entertaining with 38*. We then bowled Stars out for 98, Davis taking 3/13, to win by 43 runs.
June saw us travel to Southern Vipers for a fifty over game. Batting first, we posted 263/8, largely thanks to 87 from Lissy MacLeod and 56 from Surenkumar. In reply, Vipers prevailed in a tight chase with two overs to spare to complete a four wicket victory, MacGregor was the standout bowler taking 3/45.
Back to back rain affected No Results followed, with a trip up to Lancashire ending two balls into our innings after limiting Thunder to 250/7 – Izzy James (3/40) and Evie Booker (2/21) starring with the ball. Then a home game against Diamonds was called off after 25 overs in the field, where Davis took 2/13 to help limit them to 149/5.
The second Regional Academy Festival of the summer saw us face Central Sparks in the first T20. After being bowled out for 98, May Drinkell top-scoring with 25, Sunrisers then bowled brilliantly to restrict Sparks to 92/5 – Davis taking 1/10. We then beat Western Storm comprehensively, bowling them out for 50. Anisha Dissanayake finished with figures of 3/9, whilst Davis had 2 wickets for 2 runs. That was chased five wickets down, Maddy Reynolds top-scoring with 17. The third group game was abandoned after five balls, to secure top spot in the group.
In the semi-final, we batted first against Blaze to post 119/8, Drinkell hitting 33. A rain-affected second innings, Blaze were able to get on top and win by six wickets with an over to spare. Sunrisers then beat Central Sparks by 69 runs in the third/fourth place play-off. After reaching 148/8 batting first, Georgia Irving scoring 38, we then bowled them out for 79 – the wickets were shared around.
A two day game against Blaze followed, in an exciting first multi-day fixture for many of the players. Batting first, we posted 266 thanks to 54 from Emma Thompson and 40 from James, before Blaze replied with 180/6 declared. Surenkumar and Barnfather (both 26) helped us up to 118/7 before we declared ourselves, with a lead of 204. Blaze reached 71/4 at the close of play, with MacGregor taking 3/16.
The Academy season finished with a two wicket win over Western Storm at Uxbridge. Sunrisers bowled Storm out for 145, with Prisha Bedi (2/21) and Sarah Pearson (2/23) the pick of the bowlers. We then chased it eight wickets down, with Booker (32*) seeing us home superbly.
Luke Pomfret, Sunrisers Senior Regional Talent Manager who oversees the Academy programme, was happy with another strong summer:
“2023 was another really strong year for our Academy programme, despite the best efforts of the weather to intervene!
Seeing another two players make the step up and impact games at Senior level was a massive highlight, and shows the depth of quality we have within our region. This depth is testament to the hard work the players put in but also to the support staff we have in place and also to the Counties who have played an invaluable part in the development of these young cricketers.
Throughout the year we played a number of fixtures and competed well in all of them, with every player stepping up and impacting games during the year. We also used a number of EPP players in these fixtures, all of whom were able to positively contribute to the group, further highlighting the depth of talent that we are incredibly fortunate to have.”
Congratulations to all our Academy players who have featured this year, and thanks to our sponsors and partners for your continued support of the programme.
SUNRISERS ACADEMY RESULTS
Regional Academy Festival (April 12-14) – Taunton
T20: Thunder won by 5 runs
Thunder 53/5 (10) – MacGregor 1/2
Sunrisers 48/4 (10) – Surenkumar 15*
Regional Academy 50 Over (April 30) – Woodford
50 overs: Sunrisers won by 32 runs
Sunrisers 159 – MacGregor 29
Blaze 127 – Pindoria 4/25, MacGregor 3/13
Friendly (May 31) – Teddington
T20: Sunrisers won by 5 wickets
Stars 122/7 – Davis 3/7, Booker 2/8
Sunrisers 123/5 – Surenkumar 22
T20: Sunrisers won by 43 runs
Sunrisers 141/7 – MacGregor 38*
Stars 98 – Davis 3/13
Regional Academy 50 Over (June 18) – Basingstoke
50 overs: Vipers won by 4 wickets
Sunrisers 263/8 – MacLeod 87, Surenkumar 56
Vipers 265/6 – MacGregor 3/45
Regional Academy 50 Over (June 25) – Newton-le-Willows
50 overs: No Result
Thunder 250/7 – James 3/40, Booker 2/21
Sunrisers 1/0 (0.2)
Regional Academy 50 Over (4 July) – Overstone
50 overs: No Result
Diamonds 149/5 (25) – Davis 2/13
Regional Academy Festival (July 25-27) – Taunton
T20: Sunrisers won by 6 runs
Sunrisers 98 – Drinkell 25
Central Sparks 92/5 – Davis 1/10
T20: Sunrisers won by 5 wickets
Western Storm 50 – Dissanayake 3/9, Davis 2/2
Sunrisers 53/5 – Reynolds 17
T20: Match Abandoned
Thunder 1/1 (0.5)
T20: Blaze won by 6 wickets (DLS)
Sunrisers 119/8 – Drinkell 33
Blaze 79/4 – James 1/1
T20: Sunrisers won by 69 runs
Sunrisers 148/8 – Irving 38
Sparks 79 – Phillips 2/14, James 2/15, Davis 2/15
Friendly (August 1-2) – Oakham
2 Day: Match Drawn
Sunrisers 266 – Thompson 54, James 40
Blaze 180/6 dec – James 1/6, MacGregor 1/11
Sunrisers 118/7 dec – Surenkumar 26, Barnfather 26
Blaze 71/4 – MacGregor 3/16
Regional Academy 50 Over (August 22) – Uxbridge
50 overs: Sunrisers won by 2 wickets
Western Storm 145 – Bedi 2/21, Pearson 2/23
Sunrisers 146/8 – Booker 32*