The regional qualifiers of the ‘R66T to Hardball’ competition took place over the past week, with the four finalists now confirmed. The R66T Academy, alongside the Yorkshire Cricket Board, will host a Finals Day later this month in order to crown a winner. 
R66T to Hardball – an U12 State School Cricket League, funded by The R66T Academy Foundation – is an inclusive, entry level event to encourage schools to play hardball cricket. The competition creates a pathway into the current Yorkshire Cricket Board Chance to Compete U13 and U15 hardball events. 
More than 200 children took part in the qualifying matches, with 17 schools in action in the knockout tournament. Each team consisted of 12 players in total, with 10 of those allowed on the field at any one time. 
Kirk Balk Academy came out on top in the South League, overcoming Wales High School, Horizon Community College and Kettlethorpe High School to reach the Finals Day. Unfortunately, Birley had to pull out of the competition, but they still received cricket coaching. This group played their qualifying matches on Wednesday 28th June. 
Meanwhile, the East League featured eight teams, all of whom took part in the competition. Two teams progressed to the Finals Day, with Beverley Grammar School and The Snaith School securing their respective places in the final four. St Mary’s College, Howden School, Headlands School, South Hunsley School, Wolfreton School and Hessle High School all competed admirably. These eight teams were split into two groups, with games played on 28th and 29th June. 
Frustratingly, the weather prevented the West League from completing all their qualifying matches, but they were still able to play three matches each. It was Roundhay School who won all three of their games and progressed to the final. They were up against Crawshaw Academy, Farnley Academy, Leeds West Academy and Carlton Bolling. 
We would like to congratulate Beverley Grammar School, The Snaith School, Kirk Balk Academy and Roundhay School for reaching the R66T to Hardball Finals Day. We look forward welcoming them to Woodhouse Grove School on 11th July. 
Speaking about the competition, Donna Staniland, Head of Operations at the Yorkshire Cricket Board, said: "The YCB R66T to Hardball Cricket competition has been a fantastic opportunity for schools across the County to give students the chance to experience hardball cricket. Not only have we been able to provide coaching in schools we have seen those who play regular cricket at clubs encourage and inspire new players to take part and try hardball cricket.  
"There has been some outstanding cricket played so far in the qualifying rounds and it’s been great to see everyone involved enjoying the games and the teams working together and having fun. Finals day at Woodhouse Grove is going to be very exciting." 
Nick Gaywood, R66T Academy Project Manager, added: "We are delighted that the R66T to Hardball competition has started so positively. Firstly, we would like to congratulate the schools who have qualified for the Finals Day. We would also like to say a massive well done to every single school that took part in the competition, regardless of where they finished in the standings!" 
One school stated: "Thank you also for organising the competition. The lads really enjoyed it and it was also great to have Olly in for a few sessions prior to the tournament." 
Keep an eye on our website and social media channels ahead of the R66T to Hardball Finals Day at Woodhouse Grove School next week.  
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