Aslam Mohammed’s impact in his first season at Great Melton Cricket Club was reflected at the Club’s Presentation Evening at Glen Lodge, Bawburgh when the Indian-born all-rounder won a hat-trick of awards. The Norfolk Cricket Alliance’s rules on overseas players prevented him from playing for the first or second teams but Aslam duly made his mark in the Norfolk League and the Mid-Norfolk Sunday League where he scored a combined total of 667 runs and took 51 wickets to win the B Team and Sunday Player-of-the-Year awards as well as ‘Bubble’s Boundary Challenge Shield’ for his 29 sixes and 117 fours.
Matt Rennie and James Robb were other multiple award winners. Rennie picked up the C Team Player-of-the-Year Award as well as being voted ‘Most Improved Player’ while Robb, who also manages and coaches the U11s, was Young (U17) Player-of-the-Year and Young Volunteer of the Year.
First Team Player-of-the Year was batsman/wicket-keeper Richard Wood who won the trophy for the sixth time – the last time being in 2012 – for his 392 runs and 22 dismissals but Ben Mann won the Aldous Special Award for the outstanding performance (collected by his brother Sam), coming back from a season-long injury to score a chanceless 117 not out for the First Team in the final match against Acle.
Although the A Team had a disappointing season and were relegated from Alliance Division 3, there were several good individual performances, none better than Tim Hales who scored 508 runs to win the Player-of-the-Year shield. Women & Girl’s Player-of-the-Year was Caitlin Ellis.
Chairman Steve Phoenix, who announced and presented the awards, said Great Melton could not compete with Swardeston, the village where he now lives, in terms of trophies but were, perhaps, successful in many other ways, highlighting the fact that Melton fielded 15 teams including 4 Saturday sides, have a lovely ground, a thriving junior section and, in 2016, provided senior cricket for 94 players and junior cricket for 194. He also paid tribute to the club’s “huge team” of volunteers two of whom were singled out for special recognition. Neal Clarke, the man who organised the Beer Festival and the Dinner, who runs the bar, works on the ground and produces of the club’s impressive statistics booklet, was voted Clubman of the Year while the Aldous Award for the Senior Volunteer of the Year went to U13s Manager & Coach Clive Gristwood.
Among the highlights of the night was the presentation to two stalwarts of the club. Chris Elliott was presented with an inscribed wine glass to mark 600 appearances in his 26 years with the club while Tony Alborough’s 30-year and 800-game association with Melton was marked by the award of an inscribed glass tankard. Other ‘appearance awards’ went to Ben Mann and Joey Greenslade (200 appearances) and Woody Loines and Tom Moye (100 appearances). Others who have made 100 appearances but were not able to attend were Aimee Palmer, Ben Carding and Craig Wilson.
After thanking everyone for their contributions to what was a very enjoyable season in which 4 of Melton’s 5 teams finished 3rd in their respective leagues and the club reached the Hunts County Bat, Wicklewood Shield, ECB U19 T20 and the U13 Alan Bridgewater Finals, the Chairman received a glowing tribute from Secretary John Burdett.