Despite the damp and drizzly weather on Friday evening for the Under 9s Tournament, Great Melton’s Junior Festival went ahead as planned and 80 youngsters – of all ages and both sexes – played in 3 competitions over the course of 2 days, with the weather on Saturday showing a marked improvement.
The U9s played Kwik Cricket with Cameron’s Sharks, captained by Player of the Tournament, Cameron Graveling, emerging as champions after winning all their matches against Charlie’s Eagles (2nd) and Cassie’s Foxes (3rd) and Lohit’s Lions (4th). The 26 young players and their parents then met in the pavilion for the U9s presentations. Cameron’s excellent captaincy, aggressive batting, accurate bowling plus a brilliant catch won him tournament trophy. Coach and manager, Guy McCurley, then presented trophies and certificates to Lohit Kannan, who won the new Players Player of the Year Cup donated by Andy Cameron, Charlie Green (Coaches/Manager’s Player of the Year), Nat Buxton (Most Improved), Joe Wright, Henry Marsh (Best Attitude), James Attfield, Charlie Green, Ben Johnson, Lohit Kannan, Corey Rushton, Francis & Max Wilson (Outstanding Attendance and Commitment). During the season the Under 9s played 7 matches in the John Dewing Competition, winning 5 and losing 2.
The sun shone again on Saturday morning as 34 U13s and U11s in 4 teams of 8 or 9 played a six overs per side hard-ball competition. Luke’s Panthers, captained by Luke Marchant, won all 3 games and were champions ahead of Fergus’ Outlaws (2nd), Ryan’s Spitfires (3rd) and Tom’s Falcons (4th). Luke was also adjudged Player of the Tournament with 49 runs without being dismissed and figures of 3-10 in his 3 overs.
It capped a good day for Luke who also won the U13s Players Player of the Year Trophy in what was a very good season for the U13s who reached 2 county finals as well as winning the South Norfolk Community League. Coaches/Manager’s Player of the Year was Fergus Hughes who scored over 500 runs and took 10 wickets. Tom Moye was ‘Most Improved’ and there were certificates for Matt Ling, Kyle Weston and Craig Wilson (Best Attitude), Max Beckett, Ryan Howard, Fergus Hughes, Luke Marchant, Tom Moye and Kyle Weston.
The U11s finished runners-up in the South Norfolk League and 3rd in their Terry Moore group with Finlay Hughes taking the Players Player of the Year Cup for his 173 runs, 7 wickets and 4 catches. Captain Patrick Walton took the Coaches/Manager’s Award with Jack Gorman ‘Most Improved’. The certificates for ‘Best Attitude’ went to Oli Leinster and Daniel Davey while Matt Carter, Daniel Davey, Jack Gorman James Kettridge, Oli Leinster, Ezra Leverett, Will Singleton and Pat Walton were all commended for their ‘Outstanding Attendance and Commitment’.
The new Lucy Phoenix Cup for the Women/Girls’ Player of the Year, named after the first girl to play for the club, went to Emily Reay who has represented the Women, U15s, U17s and the C Team this season, becoming the first female to play in a Melton senior team. The star of the U13s, Roby Edge, took the Coaches/Manager’s Award while Beth Harmer was ‘Most Improved’. Certificates for ‘Best Attitude’ went to Rachael Hustler and Megan Ellse and for ‘Outstanding Commitment & Attendance’ to Caitlin Ellis, Becky & Alice Greenslade, Bethany Harmer, Rachael Hustler, Cassie Mawby, Aimee Palmer & Connie Leinster. As well as achieving their first 2 wins in the TGS Women’s League and winning the Lady Taverners County Competition, Melton’s girls have had a big impact on the age-group sides throughout the club and 12 girls have represented Norfolk.
During the lunchtime presentations Chairman Steve Phoenix thanked the huge team of volunteers for their considerable efforts during a very successful junior season and Kevin Denmark, NCB Development Officer, presented the trophies and congratulated the club on having such a large and vibrant junior section and such a good committed team of volunteers. “A great many clubs,” he said, “would like to have what Melton have got.”
In the afternoon 20 U15s and U17s, plus 5 of the U13s that had also played in the morning, competed in a 3-team 8-a-side round-robin tournament (playing each team twice). Michael’s Dragons, captained by Michael Farmer, recovered from a first-match defeat to win the tournament but it went to the last ball of the day from which Alex Rennie scored the winning 2 runs to pip Joe Bickel’s ‘Gladiators’, Stuart Wilson’s Dynamo’s finishing 3rd. Craig Woolrich of the Gladiator’s received the Player of the Tournament Award from Coaching Coordinator, Simon Carding, for his 47 runs in 4 innings without being dismissed, plus his economical bowling. He just edged out Joey Greenslade who scored 75 runs but had the consolation of winning the Alex Burdett Shield as Players Player of the Year, having scored 333 runs for the U15s including his maiden century in the last game of the season. Ben Carding, who also recorded his first ton, received the Coaches/Manager’s award. Most Improved was Marcus Mawby who also received the certificate, with Zef Ishtiaq, for ‘Best Attitude’. Those for ‘Outstanding Attendance & Commitment’ went to Craig Attewell, Marcus Mawby, Alex Rennie, Matt Rennie and Rob Smith.
In all the Juniors had 69 scheduled matches, playing 61, winning 44 and losing 17. 8 were postponed but, for 7 of those Melton were awarded 2 points for a win because opposing clubs defaulted.
The Festival also proved an excellent fundraiser for the club with a bar, barbecue, a bat auction, raffle, match the card game and whisky squares meaning that over £1200 taken over the two days which, after deductions for stock and expenses, still represents a very healthy profit.