Grenville Ireland’s 20-year stint as club Treasurer, plus his work as Assistant Groundsman, was recognised with the Eddie Aldous Special Clubman Award at Great Melton’s End of Season Celebration at Bunkers Bar, Dunston Hall. Club stalwart Ireland, who joined the club from Hardingham in 1993 and took over as Treasurer a year later, is stepping down from the role but is continuing his work on the ground and will, no doubt, add to his 332 appearances. He was also presented with a meal voucher and his wife, Laura, some flowers. Fittingly, the other ‘Clubman’ award, voted for by the players, went to hardworking groundsman, Mike Phoenix, making it a ‘groundsman’s double’.
Eight trophies were on show making Melton’s 40th Anniversary year one of the most successful ever but, unfortunately, none of those was won by a senior team. The A Team came closest, ending the season unbeaten and earning promotion having finished second in Alliance Division 4. The 1st Team’s taste of Alliance Division 1 sadly ended after just one season but there were some outstanding performances. Olly Harris took the 1st Team Player of the Year Shield with 31 wickets at an average of just 16.3 and 15-year-old Alex Rennie’s rise from C Team to 1st Team was recognised with two awards. The left-arm spinner’s 41 wickets, including 11 for the first team that included best figures of 5-35, made him U17 Player of the Year and Most Improved Player. Two other 1st team players Martyn Cook and Chris Greenslade jointly received the Aldous Special Award for the best performance, their 5th wicket partnership of 193 against Mattishall that included 130 for Cook, beat a club record that was set in 1982. Cook’s big hitting also brought him ‘Bubble’s Boundary Challenge Award’.
The A Team Player of the Year Shield was awarded jointly to Martyn Bunn who topped the batting averages with 448 runs at an average of 48, and Leo DeSalis who enjoyed something of an Indian Summer having unexpectedly earned a call-up to the A Team. He bowled 138 overs, nearly twice as many as any other bowler and, although he only claimed 15 wickets, his economy rate of 3.2 was vital to the A Team’s success.
Batsman Jon Moxon won the B Team Award, just pipping ever-reliable bowler Gary Coulson while the C Team shield was won by skipper Simon Carding for the 2nd successive season, his astute captaincy and 22 wickets at just 10 apiece making him a clear winner. Matt Clarke’s 318 runs made him a clear winner of the Sunday Award. Clarke also received an engraved glass to mark 500 appearances for the club while brother Neal was presented with a tankard for notching up 400 games. Other appearance awards went to Jason Whiddett (200) and Olly Harris (100). George Ducker, Sam Mann, Jon Moxon (200 appearances), Jake Mardell, Viv Sharma and Connor Stearman (100 appearances) were unable to attend but also passed appearance milestones. Finally, Ben Carding, who was not at the Junior Festival because of school rugby commitments, received his Shield as U15s Player of the Year. Vice-Presidents Chris Lacey, a founder member of the club, and Malcolm Scarlett presented the awards.
Chairman Steve Phoenix welcomed the 80 players, past members and guests and reminded those present that, when Great Melton were formed in 1974 there was one team and no home ground. In 2014 the club has 15 teams and a magnificent two-pitch ground at Melton Park as well as use of a second ground at Town Close School. He thanked the many volunteers for their sterling work and there was a special thank-you for his wife Celia who organised the event as well as combining the job of club Welfare Officer with that of 100 Club organiser. Finally the Chairman marked the event with ‘The Anniversary Rap’ before handing over to ‘The Cream Horns’ who kept everybody dancing until midnight.