South-South teams win third U-17 cricket championships

By Ijeoma Okigbo

The South-South team on Sunday emerged champions of the third edition of the National Under-17 Cricket Championships.

They defeated the South-East in both the male and female events to secure a second consecutive title for the male and a third title for the female.

In the final matches at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, the South-East team won the toss and elected to field in the female event.

South-South were thrown in to bat expecting that a determined South-East zone, which is known for quality fielding, would limit their number of runs.

However, Piety Lucky put up a batting display of 63 runs in 42 balls faced, including six boundary hits to give the defending champions a great chance in the game.

Lilian Ude’s three wickets’ haul for the South-East was not enough to stop coach Peter Esewi’s side.

Divine Uranta also contributed 19 runs for 23 balls to increase South-South’s runs and give her opponents a herculean task to chase.

South-South eventually scored 129 runs for the loss of six wickets in 20 overs.

South-East came in to bat in the second innings and faced a more tactical fielding opponent.

The South-South team limited them to 61 runs for the loss of eight wickets in 20 overs.

Meanwhile, in the male event, which was for 30 overs, South-South won by 41 runs.

They won the toss and opted to bat, scoring 123 runs, all out in 29.1 overs.

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Samuel Victor’s 34 runs for 66 and Prosper Useni’s 17 for 16 were one of the best batting performances for South-South.

In the second innings, the South-East scored 82 runs, all out in 20.2 overs, no thanks to Useni and Joshua Asia who hauled three wickets each.

After the match, coach Theophilus Ibodeme of the South-South male team said consistent practice earned the team success in the tournament.

“I am happy that we won the match. It is clear that other zones are improving, in terms of cricket’s grassroots development, and that is what we want to see across the country.

“Our victory today (Sunday) is simply a result of hard work and consistent practice,” Ibodeme added.

On his part, Donald Okoye, coach of the South-South male team, appreciated the chairmen of the state cricket associations in the zone for doing their part to grow the game.

“We lost today but I appreciate the team for their efforts. We will keep improving with time.

“One of the success stories of the cricket development we have in our zone is the effort of our state chairmen.

“They are all doing their best in their various states and that is what has climaxed into what we see today,” Okoye added.

North-West zone emerged third in the male event, while North-Central were second runners-up in the female event.

NAN

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