The rather chilly and showery early September weather didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the 74 youngsters that attended Great Melton Cricket Club’s Junior Festival.
On Friday evening 34 Under 9s took part in a Kwik Cricket Tournament that saw James Cooper’s Daredevils beat Ethan Ellis’ Sunrisers in a well-contested final. James was Player of the Tournament and received his award from U9s Coach & Manager Guy McCurley who also presented the season’s other awards to his successful U9s who pipped Brooke by 1 point to win the South Norfolk Community League. Player of the Year was captain Corey Rushton while Louis Armstrong-Brown picked up the Coaches/Managers Award as Most Improved Player.
On Saturday morning 26 youngsters enjoyed a 7-a-side round-robin Tournament. The final round of matches began with all 4 teams on 2 points following a win apiece but The Leinstonians, captained by Oliver Leinster came through to win the tournament on runs-per-wicket. Ben Granville of the winning team was selected by the coaches and umpires as Player of the Tournament for his consistently good bowling and batting performances.
In the afternoon a good mix of age groups played a Sevens Tournament in which 3 teams all played each other twice. Sam Cardings ‘Six-Hitters’ team were unbeaten and took the Eddie Symonds Cup with Sam himself taking the award as Player of the Tournament.
This year the Junior Festival was sponsored by Vice President Alan Barnard who presented the Junior Awards. This included a new trophy, ‘The Alan Barnard Cup’ for the Young Volunteer of the Year. This went to Marcus Mawby for his excellent support of the junior coaching, umpiring and scoring at matches and his general helpfulness around the club.
Chairman and Junior Coordinator, Steve Phoenix, said that, despite a difficult year for the seniors, the Junior Section continued to thrive with over 200 registered members, a large girls’ section and success in a range of competitions. Of 89 scheduled fixtures, 76 were actually played – 13 were cancelled mainly because other clubs could not raise teams – and Melton’s juniors lost only 12 games, winning 51. The U9s and U13s won the SNCL and the U11s & U13s reached the knock-out stages of the Alliance competitions while the U17s won all their matches in the SNCL but unluckily lost out on the championship to Dereham who they didn’t get to play.
Fergus and Finlay Hughes, who are emigrating to New Zealand received the Coaches/Managers’ Player of the Year Awards for the U15s and U13s respectively, before dashing off to finish their preparations while Charlie Green, scored 357 runs at an average of 71 and took 11 wickets for the U11s was a double award winner, taking the Players and Coaches Player of the Year trophies.
Other award winners were: Player of the Year: U13s Pat Walton; U15s Aimee Palmer; Girls Beth Harmer. Coaches Player of the Year: Girls Rebecca Greenslade. Most Improved Player: U11s Ethan Rushton; U13s Olly Black; U15s Kyle Weston; Girls Cassie Mawby & Alice Greenslade. Excellent Attitude: Harry Cheal, James Cooper, Harrison Cunningham, Sam Davey, Ethan Ellis, Jess Ellse, Jamie Granville, Daniel Graves, Sam McKay, Oliver Wormstone, Frankie Wilson, (U9s); Nat Buxton, Rachel Davey, Ben Fletcher, Callum Fletcher, Cameron Graveling, Ben Johnson, Lohit Kannan, Ryan Twiddy (U11s); Saxon Earley, Megan Ellse, Ben Granville, Sam Johnson, Oli Leinster, Kai Wilkinson-Loines, Josh Wright (U13s); Lucy Morton, Craig Wilson (U15s). Commitment & Attendance: George Alcock, James Alcock, Ethan Ellis, Connie Leinster, Corey Rushton, Niamh Ruston, Wilbur King (U9s); Rachel Davey, Holly Marchant, Ryan Twiddy (U11s); Olly Black, James Bridges, James Carter, Daniel Davey, Caitlin Ellis, Oli Leinster, Cassie Mawby (U13s); Becky Greenslade, April Herathge (U15 Girls)
The Festival also raised some much-needed funds for the club. A huge thank-you to all who assisted and particularly to the many parents and supporters who generously donated prizes or cakes.