Ben Mann capped a fine season by winning both the First Team and the Sunday Team Player of the Year Awards at Great Melton Cricket Club’s Presentation Dinner at Glen Lodge, Bawburgh. With the First Team gaining promotion back to Division 2 of the Norfolk Alliance at the first attempt, there was plenty to celebrate and Ben was the star, scoring 451 runs, including 2 centuries, 133 in 25 overs against champions Bradenham and 113 not out against his old club, Old Buckenham. He added to those stats with a further 299 runs on Sunday and narrowly missed out on a hat-trick of awards, the Aldous Shield for the outstanding performance going instead to club stalwart Leo deSalis in recognition of the outstanding achievement of 750 wickets for the Club.
A Team Player of the Year was Matt Henderson for his 316 runs and 18 wickets while the B Team award went to Eusha Fawad. Jonathan Ellse was another outstanding performer. Having never previously scored a century, the South African managed to hit three last summer in a total of 734 runs, most of them for the C Team which made him the obvious choice as C Team Player-of-the-Year.
While Leo deSalis and Lee Whiddett, who received an inscribed glass for reaching the milestone of 500 appearances for Melton, illustrated the rewards of longevity there were awards to three players at the other end of the scale. Cassie Mawby, 16, won the Lucy Phoenix Cup as the outstanding female player while another 16-year-old, Oli Leinster, who scored his first fifty during 2019 as well as claiming 11 dismissals as C Team wicketkeeper, was voted Most Improved Player. Ben Johnson (14) picked up the U17 Player of the Year Award mainly for his 28 wickets but he also scored 39 in a new C Team record 5th wicket partnership of 113. There were also awards for Tim Hales (200 Appearances) and Sam Mann (300).
Membership Secretary, Sallyann Weston, completed a notable family ‘double’ by being voted Volunteer (‘Clubman’) of the Year, her son Kyle having already been awarded the Barnard Cup for the ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’. The Aldous Special ‘Volunteer’ Award recognised the outstanding contribution of Grenville Ireland who has assisted groundsman, Mike Phoenix, for over 25 years as well as spending many years as Treasurer, a role he still performs for the Village Hall Management Committee.
Chairman, Steve Phoenix, who has been on the Committee at Great Melton for all of the Club’s 45 years and has spent 36 of them as Chairman, made personal presentations to his brother Mike and wife Celia for their unfailing support while a relative newcomer, Maxine Rushton, received flowers as a small ’thank-you’ for the huge impact she has had in managing 2 junior teams, obtaining grant aid, setting up a league for girls, organising a World Cup Day and being at the forefront of the club’s (gradual) move towards digital scoring.
The Chairman thanked the club’s main sponsor, Anglia Pallets, Vice-Presidents’, Barry Johnson, Chris Lacey & Grenville Ireland who presented the trophies, and the “huge team” of volunteers that continue to work hard to make the club the success it is. At a time when cricket is struggling and playing numbers are decreasing, the fact that 90 players and guests attended the Dinner and Melton manage to field 5 senior teams most weekends and 16 teams in all, as the Chairman said, “For a recreational cricket club that is a pretty good measure of success!”
A collection by Chris McKay for the YANA (You Are Not Alone) charity in memory of Patrick Joice (father of U9s captain Jack) who tragically died last month, raised £333.