Speedster event rearranged

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ASPIRING cricketers with the ambition and incentive to follow in the footsteps of Ashington’s own Stephen Harmison, will have the opportunity on Sunday at Durham’s Emirates International Cricket Ground.

The idea to search for another pace ace is the brainchild of bowler Neil Killeen.

But the ex-Durham man’s plans have been severely disrupted and curtailed with four of the planned six venues to hold heats – including Ashington – being cancelled.

Langwell Crescent was rescheduled to host the event this coming Saturday, but that will now not take place.

Instead there will be an open hour from 9.30am to 10.30am to any youngster in four age brackets – under-15s, under-17s, under-19s and under-23s on Sunday at Durham’s ICG.

Disappointed by the conditions which have led to numerous cancellations, Killeen nevertheless remained upbeat.

He said: “At the moment the forecast is okay for Sunday and we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed, so we want as many youngsters to come down to Durham and give it a go.

“We have had a lot of interest through phone calls and e-mail contact, but the weather has scuppered four venues at Ashington, Annfield Plain, Middleborough and Gateshead Fell, and even though it went ahead at Brandon and Sunderland, we were still hit by limited numbers.

“Consequently we are having an open hour and whoever qualifies will go through to the finals, which will take place between 11am and noon.

“Anyone who enters on the day will be allocated a free ticket for the T20 match between Durham and Lancashire, which will start at 2.40pm, and the respective winners on the day will be awarded a trophy; membership for T20 cricket at Durham the following year and the opportunity to train with the academy during the winter.”

Despite so many setbacks, Killeen added that the Speedstar challenge is set to become an annual event.

Any youngster requiring more details can contact Neil on nkilleen@me.com