It was a milestone day for teenage Fox Lodge opener Charlie Simpson, who recorded a maiden senior half century for the Ballymagorry side in their narrow win at neighbours Burndennett. The wicketkeeper-batsman made the brave decision to move from Newbuildings at the start of the campaign.

“I just felt that I wanted to take the step into senior cricket and be playing at that level on a weekly basis,” Simpson told The Chronicle. “Having met Aaron Heywood and Jason Milligan last October, after the season had finished, I knew once I spoke to them that Fox Lodge was a club that would help and support me with my transition into senior cricket. 

“I have really enjoyed my first couple of months at the club. Aaron has just given me the freedom to play my shots and not to be putting pressure on myself to score runs at the top of the order. I feel this has helped me get off to a good start to the season knowing that I have full backing of the captain and the team,” added the 16 year-old.

“Thankfully I got my first senior 50 on Saturday against Burndennet having already scored a previous two half centuries at Ballyspallen in washed-out games -thankfully the rain stayed away on Saturday.

“I have been made very welcome by everyone from players and supporters around the club, which has made the transition to my new club a seamless one.”

Fox Lodge captain Aaron Heywood has been delighted by the impact Simpson has made since his arrival. “Charlie has been excellent since joining. He has a great work ethic and attitude, and is keen to get involved in all things surrounding the club to help whenever he can.

“Charlie’s bringing energy to training and is developing every week, working closely with overseas professional and Coach Gayan Maneeshan. All at the club were delighted for him to get his first 50 on Saturday. He's been welcomed with open arms and he's bedded in really well to the Foxies. Long may it continue.”

The Lisneal schoolboy has been facing a different test in recent weeks as he has been sitting his GCSE examinations. He is keen for representative honours, starting with the youth interprovincial series next month.

“My ambition this season is to try and repay the faith the club has shown in me by scoring some runs and keeping a good wicket. From an interprovincial point of view I have recently been selected for the Warriors U17’s and would like to have a good interprovincial tournament in early July.

“I would also like to try and be in with an outside chance of making the Ulster Schools Cup side which goes on tour to Scotland at the end of July. But my main focus is Fox Lodge and helping them to challenge for the league title this season.”