Cooper’s Bears, captained by James Cooper, came out on top as Great Melton’s Junior Festival began with the Under 9s Kwik-Cricket Tournament on Friday afternoon.  The 31 youngsters, were divided into 4 teams with names based on the Nat West T20 Blast and the teams proved to be very evenly matched.  In fact, the first game between Johnson’s Foxes and Cooper’s Bears resulted in a tie.  Both teams won their next two games so it was neck and neck at the top of the table as the teams went into their final round of matches.  The Bears took six wickets as Wilson’s Sharks struggled to 244-6 from their 8 overs leaving a net score of 214 and the Bears won easily, scoring 243-1 to give them a 24-run victory.  On the other pitch, however, the Foxes were struggling to muster the 26 runs needed against winless Attfield’s Eagles who, despite only scoring 240-3 (225 net) were bowling well.  The Foxes lost too many wickets leaving last pair Ben Johnson and Corey Rushton with too much to do.  They finished on 249-6 and their final total of 219 was 6 short.  The surprise defeat left Cooper’s Bears clear at the top of the table with 5 points with the Bears in 2nd place with 3, the Sharks 3rd and the Eagles 4th with 2 points each.

Chairman, Steve Phoenix, paid tribute to the work of U9s Team Manager & Coach, Guy McCurley, and his team of coaches & assistants, Chris McKay, Matt Rushton, Mally Howard, Chris Elliott and James Robb saying that the turn-out of 32 for an U9s cricket tournament in late August was ‘testament to their efforts’ and those of the Girls’ coaches, especially Emma Bunn.  Guy then presented the awards to the winning team: James Cooper, Blade Earley, Thomas Gray, Joseph Graves, Harry Jackson, Vish Mehta and Hasan Sajid before the Chairman announced the winners of the End-of-Season Awards.

Player-of-the-Year was Ben Johnson who is captain, leading run-scorer and wicket-taker for the under 9s as well as being a regular member of the U11s successful squad.  The Most Improved Player Trophy went to Max Wilson, with Henry Marsh runner-up while James Attfield, Ethan Ellis, Ben Bailey, Alfie Sutton, Sam Davey, Francis Wilson, Jess Ellse and Rachel Rooks and  all received certificates for their ‘Excellent Attitude’.

Certificates were also awarded to James Attfield, Ethan Ellis and Ben Bailey, for ‘Commitment and Attendance’ having attended at least 13 of the 14 coaching sessions.

Henry Marsh, Aaron Parish, Dylan Crawley (Attitude), Disha Rai (Attitude & Attendance) and Delphi and Zenthi Wilkinson-Loines (Attendance) were not able to be at the Festival but will also receive certificates.

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