Youngsters from Durham City Cricket Club are celebrating reaching the final 16 of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)’s Vitality T20 Under 15 competition.

The community club triumphed in the regional competition by defeating Teesside champions Norton to win the County Cup as Under 14s. Last weekend they beat Benwell Hill from Northumberland in the Group stage of the National Competition. Benwell Hill had previously beaten Scottish champions Grange CC to open up the draw with Durham City. The win for City takes them into the Group 1 Finals Day on Monday 26 July at York Cricket Club.

The match was played at City’s Green Lane home ground. Durham won the toss and elected to bat first. The Durham boys put up a healthy score of 136 in 20 overs (Callum Gaffney 52* and Timon Basu 31). In return Benwell Hill put up 132 for 7 (Haydon Mustard 42) from their 120 balls, falling just a few runs short of the target.

Durham City will face the Yorkshire champions New Rover Cricket Club on the morning of the Finals Day. New Rover beat the Lancashire champions to seal their place, and the winners will go on to face the champions of Nottinghamshire or Cheshire in the afternoon.

After winning through a succession of local, regional and national knock-out games, the Group 1 Champions will meet the winners of the three other groups that are being played out across the rest of England and Wales at Rugby School on 9 August.

Durham City Cricket Club was established in 1829 and is one of the oldest cricket clubs in the region. The club marked its establishment with a game on what is now Durham University’s Racecourse ground between ‘the gentlemen of Durham and Sunderland cricket clubs’. The prize that day was a dinner and a bottle of wine. The club has played cricket just next door to the Racecourse at its Green Lane ground since 1880.

Following a recent push to put junior cricket at the heart of the club, City is now one of the biggest clubs in the region. Every week of the season the coaches aim to turn out eleven boys teams, three girls teams, two youth development teams and four men’s and women’s cricket teams in the Durham Cricket League.

Danielle Hazell, President of Durham City Cricket Club and ex-England cricketer, said: “The young players in the Under 15 squad have already achieved a great deal by making it to the final 16 clubs in the country and should be incredibly proud of themselves.

“Cricket is a fantastic team sport that requires skill, dedication, strength of character and perseverance. Our team demonstrates that every time they play and, in this competition, that has already paid huge dividends.

“Whatever happens on Finals Day they’re already winners.”