The annual Junior Festival once again provided a fitting climax to another successful junior season for Great Melton with 68 youngsters enjoying a final opportunity to show their skills. Although a torrential downpour delayed the start of the U11 Tournament, it didn’t dampen enthusiasm and a good number of spectators braved the chilly conditions to watch 4 teams drawn from the U11s & U9s groups do battle for the Eddie Symonds Junior Trophy. James Alcock’s ‘Jaguars’ team of Katie Smith, Josh Francis, Sammy Belderson, Hope Buxton, Fletcher James, Arlo Leeder, Archie McKay, Will Joyner and Jenny Moore beat George’s Gazelles and Blades Bears to be crowned champions with James himself voted Player-of-the-Tournament.
In the afternoon Cassie Mawby’s ‘Crusaders’: Charlie Green, Liam Stevens, Sam Davey, Harrison Cunningham, Alice Brand & Joel Ruiters triumphed over Oli’s Outlaws with Charlie winning the Player of the Tournament Trophy. It was good to see camaraderie between players of both sexes and a variety of ages in this tournament which was competitive but not taken too seriously and played in a great spirit.
Between the two tournaments Norfolk Cricket Development Officer, Kevin Denmark, hot-footed it from Swardeston to present the annual awards. Chairman Steve Phoenix congratulated all the youngsters on another good summer which saw the U9s reach the John Dewing Final, the U13s and the U11s reach the Alliance Semi-Final, the U15s win the South Norfolk Community ‘Green’ League and the U11 Girls the Langley School Tournament. The U13s also finished runners-up in the SNCL while the U11s, U11 Girls and U9s were all 3rd. In total there were 61 fixtures completed.
Kevin Denmark presented the SNCL medals to U15s captain, Lohit Kannan, whose 312 runs while only being dismissed twice, made him the stand-out Junior player. Lohit deservedly won the U15 Player of the Year Award with Ethan Rushton ‘Most Improved Player’ and Ben Johnson winning the ‘Coaches Award’.
Flynn Crosthwaite was the U13s Player of the Year in his first season with the club, having scored 196 runs and taken 6 wickets as well as playing regularly in the B Team. Adithya Velu was Most Improved while Odin Thomas, who travels from Mildenhall, to train and play, was given the Coaches’ Award.
James Alcock’s trophy-winning day continued with him carrying off the U11s Player-of-the-Year shield for his captaincy, his 152 runs and 11 wickets. Sammy Belderson, who also took 11 wickets, was Most Improved and Evan Mercer took the Coaches’ Award. Alice Brand was Junior Girls’ Player of the Year, Rebecca Davey Most Improved and Niamh Rushton won the Coaches’ Award.
Jack Joice was the outstanding player in the U9s and deservedly won the Player-of-the-Year Cup with Will Moulton Most Improved and George Fawkes taking the Coaches Award.
Certificates for Commitment and Attendance were awarded to Liam Stevens (U15); Corey Rushton, Harry Skoulding, Isaac Ford, Noah Moore & George Ryan (U13s); Jake Canning (U11s); Carley Hall, Samia Mohammed, Connie Leinster & Jenny Moore (Junior Girls) and Seth Ford, Joe Hyndes, Henry Jones, Will Moulton and Louis Whiddett (U9s)
The Chairman thanked the club’s many volunteers – groundsmen, coaches, coaching assistants, team managers, bar staff, the membership team and everybody who has scored, umpired, provided transport or helped in any way. Caroline Mawby and Trish Ellse were given flowers and prosecco for their sterling efforts with the Friday night barbecues. There was a particular thank-you to Ryan Hayward who is standing down after 3 years as Coaching Coordinator and he was invited to present the final award to the Young Volunteer of the Year which, for the second successive year, went to Kyle Weston for his work with the U9s group and his consistent help with jobs around the ground and in the pavilion.
All in all it was an excellent day. After the initial shower the rain stayed away, the sun shone occasionally (although it didn’t warm up much!) and there was some good cricket played . The entry fees, bar, barbecue, cake stall and tombola also saw in excess of £800 added to the club’s accounts. Well done everybody! A real team effort – as usual!