With 2011 being the club’s most successful season ever, climaxing in the 1st Team’s second successive promotion, Great Melton will begin 2012 occupying their highest-ever place in the Norfolk Cricket pyramid.  Not surprisingly the atmosphere at the well-attended A.G.M. held last week was wholly positive and there were few changes of personnel as 1st Team, A Team and C Team all look forward to the challenge of competing in higher divisions.   Mark Scott’s record of only one defeat in 2 seasons at the helm, speaks for itself.  With two championships in the bag the Firsts’ ebullient skipper is looking forward to Alliance Division 2 cricket although, he did inform members that his third season in charge would be his final one.  Lee Whiddett was re-elected A Team skipper having led his team to Alliance Division 5 promotion last season and the partnership of Manager Clive Gristwood and captain Mally Howard would again ensure the blossoming C Team stays in good hands.  The only two changes are in the B Team and Sunday Teams where the father and son combination of David and George Bunn will take more active roles.  David takes over as B Team skipper while George will follow in a long tradition of teenage Sunday captains.

In fact the future of Sunday cricket at the club provoked much discussion with some urging a return to a less competitive Sunday format that would enable some of the club’s younger players to be blooded while others favoured remaining in the Mid-Norfolk Sunday League.  In the end it was decided that Melton will continue to compete in the league but, thankfully, following the struggles of last season in the Shield Premier Division,  in the less pressurised Boyle Division 1.  The Carter Junior Cup and some friendlies would provide an outlet for the youngsters.  Midweek skipper Daryl Godbold, who was also re-elected, had the historic Norfolk Junior Cup to show for the ‘Marauders’ efforts in 2011 but he lamented the fact that the club had entertained too few touring sides and hoped this would change next Summer.

Chairman and Junior Development Officer, Steve Phoenix, said that the Junior Section continued to thrive with the Under 13s and the Under 11s both reaching County finals and the U11s also winning the South Norfolk Community League.  He praised the considerable efforts of Coaching Coordinator, Simon Carding and his team of coaches, assistants and managers and the work of Membership secretary Andy Cameron.  Next season the club are intending to enter the U9s in the Alliance Competitions as well as the U15s, U13s and U11s.

Treasurer Grenville Ireland presentation of the accounts showed the Finance Committee’s careful planning ensured the club continues to prosper in these difficult times with a small surplus made on the season.  With the cost of  maintaining the superb Melton Park facilities, hiring a second pitch at Town Close School and the hire of the UEA for nets the Treasurer stressed the need for the money to keep coming in especially as Melton have plans to improve the scoreboard and re-furbish the artificial practice area in the not-too-distant future.

The scoreboard and the nets are part of the club’s detailed Development Plan of which the Chairman presented a summary.  Among the club’s targets are to continue to promote girls’ cricket and field a girls’ team, to become more involved in schools and to increase volunteer participation including succession planning for key roles like that of groundsman.  With the First Team being the flagship of the club the aim is also to be playing Division 1 or Premier Division Cricket within the next 5 years.

Melton are always keen to welcome new players, especially those of 1st Team standard. Please contact the Chairman or Mark Scott.   Pre-season nets start on Monday 20th February at the UEA from 6.00 to 8.00 p.m. and continue every Monday until April 2nd.  Junior Coaching begins on Friday 20th April.

Other officers elected were:  President Andy Seeley; Chairman Steve Phoenix; Secretary John Burdett; Treasurer Grenville Ireland; Membership Secretary Andy Cameron; Welfare Officer Celia Phoenix; Groundsman Mike Phoenix; Junior Coordinator Steve Phoenix; Coaching Coordinator Simon Carding; Girls’ Coordinator Mark Cadge; Junior Representatives Chris Greenslade and Joe Bickel.

(This is the report that I sent to the Wymondham & Attleborough Mercury.  Steve)

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