After a summer beset by postponements and rain-affected matches the sun shone brightly on Great Melton's Junior Festival last weekend and 68 youngsters – one more than last year – enjoyed an excellent end-of-season celebration. During Friday evening and all day Saturday tournaments were held in three different age groups and, following another successful summer for Melton's juniors, the end-of-season awards were handed out. This year the ‘sixes' or ‘sevens' competititions had an IPL theme and Sam's Super-Kings emerged as winners of the U9s Tournament thanks to some effective batting from their captain Sam Johnson whose 37 runs made him the competition's top scorer and the Player of the Tournament. There were some close matches with the game between Holly's Warriors and Mark's Knight Riders ending in a tie and, in total, 27 boys and girls took part testimony to the enthusiasm engendered by U9s coach Guy McCurley.
Super-Kings were also successful in the U12s Tournament on Saturday morning but, this time, they were captained by Matt Ling. After an initial round-robin competition Matt's Super Kings played Luke's Chargers in the final and an unbeaten 19 from Player of the Tournament Fergus Hughes was enough to give the Super Kings victory. Six of the under 12s choose to stay on into the afternoon and play with the U17s and that decision produced the ‘champagne moment' of the tournament when U17 Super King's captain Stuart Wilson (16) was bowled first ball by his little brother, 11-year-old Craig! The U17s champions were Tom's Warriors, led by Player-of-the-Tournament Tom Smith whose astute captaincy and economic bowling plus some good contributions with the bat, enabled his side to win all 3 of their games. He was helped by Joey Greenslade who scored 22n 23 and 19 without being out in the 3 matches. Other excellent performances came from Chris Greenslade, Michael Farmer and Craig Woolrich but the younger players certainly acquitted themselves very well.
Saturday also saw an 8-a-side Lads V Dads (and one Mum!) match which resulted in a narrow one-wicket win for the ‘oldies' although Simon Carding (31 not out) and Chris Brook (28 not out) ensured it was more comfortable than the ‘lads' would have liked.
Chairman and Junior Development Officer, Steve Phoenix, thanked the club's huge team of volunteers before presenting the statistics on another very successful season for the junior section. Despite the rain, Melton's youngsters played 59 matches, winning 43. The U13s and the U11s won the South Norfolk Community League, the U11s lost just 1 match all season – the semi-final of the Terry Moore Trophy – and the U13s were runners-up in the Alan Bridgewater Cup and losing semi-finalists in the ECB competition. For the first time the club fielded an U9 team and Women and Girls' teams with the U13 Girls winning the Lady Taverners Norfolk Competition.
Club Patron Sir Edward Evans-Lombe and President Andrew Seeley were both present and Sir Edward presented the awards. The winner of the U9s Player of the Year Award was Charlie Green, and Aimee Palmer, who has played for the Women, Girls, U13s and U11s emerging as top batsman and bowler in the South Norfolk Community U11 League, won both the Girls' and the U11s Coaches Award. U11s Players Player-of the-Year was shared by Fergus Hughes who scored 231 runs at an average of 77 and took 16 wickets, and economical bowler Arvind Shanmugam who's 10 wickets cost just 4.3 runs apiece. In the U13s Rob Smith, with 279 runs and 23 wickets, was Players Player of the Year while the much improved Craig Attewell (252 runs & 22 wickets) was the Coaches' choice. Michael Farmer's captaincy and all round contribution (352 runs at an average of 40 and 19 wickets) made him the obvious choice for Players Player of the Year for the U15s while the Coaches' Award went to Craig Woolrich (286 runs, 12 wickets)
There was also a ‘Meal Deal' voucher for each of Melton's young volunteers, George Bunn, Toby Wyatt, Tom Smith, Stuart Wilson, Joe Bickel, Hannah Brook, Emma Bunn, Chris Greenslade, Michael Farmer & Craig Woolrich as a small thank you for their work supporting Melton's coaches. Many of them have already passed 50 hours of volunteer work and will be formally recognised under the ECBs V Award Scheme.
Certificates were also presented to:
U9s: Ben Johnson (Most Improved), Max Wilson, Lohit Kannan, Mark Attfield, Marcus Bale, Alex Dixon, Callum Sparkes, Jack Rooney (Excellent Attitude), Sam Johnson, Ben Johnson, Lohit Kannan (Commitment & Attendance)
Girls: Rachel Hustler (Most Improved); Cassie Mawby, Holly Marchant, Bethany Harmer (Excellent Attitude), Becca Greenslade, Alice Greenslade, Aimee Palmer, Holly Marchant (Commitment & Attendance)
U11s: Lewis Thurston (Most Improved), Patrick Walton, Craig Wilson (Excellent Attitude), Daniel Davey, Kyle Weston, Fergus Hughes, James Carter, Matt Carter, Will Singleton (Commitment & Attendance).
U13s: Matt Rennie (Most Improved), Marcus Mawby, Joey Greenslade (Excellent Attitude), Craige Attewell, Matt Thurston, Joey Greenslade, Marcus Mawby, Nathan Pell (Commitment & Attendance).
U15s: Michael Farmer (Most Improved), Hadi Kashif, Zef Ishtiaq, Ben Singleton (Excellent Attitude), Ben Singleton (Commitment & Attendance)
The hot, sunny weather made it a brilliant Festival, with the added bonus of the bar barbecue, games and raffle bringing in some much-needed funds for the club. There isn't much rest, though, as Junior Winter Coaching begins on Tuesday 2nd October at Hethersett High School. Invititations will be sent out in due course. Planning is already starting for next season with the appointment of team junior managers a priority.