The Beer Festival Weekend proved a great success both socially and financially with over £1600 raised.  With ten beers to sample, eight of them sponsored thanks to Anglia Pallets, Hethersett Butchers, Tim Hales Turfcare, Richard Waddell, Olly Harris, John Burdett and Richard Wood, there was plenty of choice for the discerning drinker and there was the usual captive audience on Friday night which, coincidentally, also saw us inspected as part of the new Clubmark Accreditation process.  The Norfolk Cricket Board’s Kevin Denmark couldn’t fail to be impressed by the quality and organisation of the coaching and the skill and enthusiasm of the youngsters.  The fact that the 87 youngsters who attended were overseen by a team of 24 coaches and assistants was a magnificent effort by our volunteer army which, in addition, included our membership team, barbecue and bar staff.  According to Kevin we passed the test with flying colours!  Meanwhile parents took the opportunity to drink beer!

Saturday was the main event with over a hundred present on a balmy evening that initially saw clusters of people spread out over a widish area enjoying the beer and barbecue but Joe Bailey’s initial set drew people to the vicinity of the marquee and, when he took to the stage again and the beer had begun to take effect, the dancing began – and lasted for well over an hour.  Several encores later and, after a short impromptu performance by Matt Clarke, people headed for homes, tents or other sleeping places with husky voices, feeling slightly (or massively!) the worse for wear.  Some nearly didn’t make it!  Woody Loines took a tumble cycling home with the raucous Barford Boys but luckily his injuries were but superficial!

The next day a few were nursing sore heads – and some of the girls looked in need of sleep – but 24 assembled for the traditional Patron’s XI V President’s XI match. Sir Edward Evans-Lombe’s ‘Club’ team retained the Robert Phoenix Trophy by beating the President Nick Evans-Lombe’s ‘legends’ and guests by 6 wickets in a 40-over game that didn’t quite go the full distance.  Chris Greenslade (34), Martyn Cook (30), Nick Evans-Lombe (30), Jim Rice (28 not out) and Michael Farmer (21) all made useful contributions to a total of 210-6 but it was 13-year-old Nat Buxton, nephew of the President who took the eye with a dashing 22 not out and an impressive display of wicket-keeping.  The Patron’s XI, however, had too much firepower for a team comprising too many ‘occasional bowlers’ with Joey Greenslade  (40), Sam Mann (33), Tim Hales (33 not out), Woody Loines (28) and Ben Mann (27) helping them coast to victory with 7 overs to spare. Ian Arnold was the most impressive of the bowlers with 1-24 from his 6 overs.  It was good to see the likes of Martyn, Marcus and the Chairman back in action at Melton even though they were unable to muster a full collection of working fingers between them!  Similarly Arnie, Jim Rice, Chris G and Beiber (now looking remarkably similar to Jonny Cooper) all enjoyed their returns while the President himself showed his cricketing pedigree with 30 runs, an excellent catch and 4 decent overs.

The game was followed by curries provided by Ellie, Lauren & Laura and more beer and Prosecco, thoughtfully provided by Lady Evans-Lombe.  Generally a good time was had by all and thanks are mainly due to the small Social & Fundraising Committee of Nick Mackenzie, Richard Waddell, Matt Clarke & Ellie Jakes plus Treasurer Leo DeSalis, for their excellent organisation and hard work – in fact Leo was at the club from Friday afternoon to Monday lunch-time!

In addition thanks are also due to Mike Phoenix, Joe Huckle, John Burdett, Grenville Ireland, Mally Howard and the Chairman who helped with the setting up of the marquee; the Ellses, Jonathan & Trish, for cooking the food on Saturday, Rob Browne of Woodfordes who provided all the stillage; the generous 8 who sponsored the barrels and to the many others who helped out on the bar or with the clearing up or who provided cakes or curries.  As usual it was a real team effort.

It was unfortunate that this year’s Beer Festival clashed with the Retro Festival at Earlham Park and Wymondham Rugby Club’s Music Festival and, while the attendance was perhaps higher than we envisaged at one stage, we could really have accommodated a lot more people.  The Beer Festival now seems well-established on the Cricket Club calendar and a similar event is already being planned for next year but the hardworking Fundraising/Social Committee could really do with a few more members, especially from among the parents of the juniors.  There’s just too much for 4 people do so, if you can help out, please get in touch.

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