The recipe for success that has resulted in Great Melton Cricket Club’s surge through the leagues to their highest-ever position in the Norfolk cricket pyramid was never better illustrated than through the recipients of the major awards at the club’s Presentation Dinner at Glen Lodge, Bawburgh. Melton’s promotion to Division 1 of the Norfolk Alliance has been built on solid foundations, a committee of stalwarts that have guided the club on its steady progress towards the top, a group of good club players all still paying to play and a huge junior section that is producing some really talented youngsters able to perform at a high level.
Steve Phoenix, Chairman for 29 of the club’s 39 years, is one of the stalwarts. A founder-member of the club, he was presented with a well-deserved award by another long-standing member, Mally Howard, to celebrate a remarkable 900 appearances for Great Melton. There was also some flowers for his wife Celia who undoubtedly deserves them! Another player who has been with Melton through thick and thin, Gary Coulson, also received an award to mark 300 appearances.
At the other end of the age scale the Greenslade brothers, 17-year-old, Chris and 15-year-old, Joey carried off a whole host of playing awards. Chris beat off stiff competition from a strong contingent of players with outstanding stats to wrench the First Team Player-of-the-Year Award away from the consistent Richard Wood, winner for the past 5 seasons. As well as scoring the most runs during the season (930), Chris took the Boundary Challenge Trophy with 153 (3 sixes, 150 fours) and the Aldous Special Award for two outstanding individual performances, 153 against Great Witchingham, the highest score, and 7-31 against Saham Toney, the best bowling figures. Joey Greenslade, who finished the season with some excellent performance for the A Team and the U15s, scoring his maiden century, was voted Most Improved Player and also received a salver for being South Norfolk Community League batsman of the year and a plaque to mark 100 appearances. Proud parents, Duncan and Maria, may need to move to a bigger house to accommodate the boys’ haul!
The First Team’s excellent season was illustrated by the stats as, apart from Greenslade’s runs, Richard Wood and Jason Whiddett scored in excess of 400, Martyn Cook 300 and Kieron Pask, Olly Harris, skipper Richard Waddell and Matt Clarke 200. Rob Sims (34 wickets) and Harris (28) showed the importance of good quality slow bowling while Greenslade (25 wickets), Pask (25) and Waddell (17) all performed admirably with the ball. Kieron Pask was voted U17 Player of the Year after an excellent first season with the club.
Paul Stearman was the most consistent performer over the season as the A Team produced a late run to avoid relegation from Alliance Division 4. His 307 runs and 12 wickets won him the A Team Player of the Year Shield but his performance at Mundford where he scored 129 and took 4-45 also made him a leading contender for the Aldous award.
The B Team award went to Fawad Kaiser for his 285 runs and 16 wickets while Simon Carding’s achievement in captaining the inexperienced and often disrupted C Team to 3rd place in Norfolk League Division 4, as well as contributing 16 wickets, won him the C Team shield.
Another new player to the club, South African Jonathan Ellse took the Sunday Player of the Year trophy, his 284 runs at an average of 47, was a beacon of light in a difficult season for the team in the Premier Division of the Mid Norfolk Sunday League.
The Clubman of the Year Award, voted for by Club members went to Neal Clarke, bar organiser and compiler of the 43-page Statistics Booklet that is would surely be the envy of most clubs. The Aldous Clubman Shield, named after former President, the late Eddie Aldous and chosen by the Executive Committee, went to Under 9s manager and coach, Guy McCurley for the fine work he does with Melton’s youngest juniors. There were ‘100 appearances’ awards to Richard Wood, Joe Bickel, Toby Wyatt and Simon Brett who were unable to attend the Dinner.
Most of the trophies were presented by Vice President, founder-member and former Secretary, Chris Lacey, after which 68 members and guests were entertained by another long-serving player, Simon Woods and his group ‘The Cream Horns’.