“Much to be PLeased About”
Great Melton Cricket Club Presentation Evening: Friday 1st October at Glen Lodge
Despite having to get used to cricket without teas and changing rooms, sanitisation breaks and social distancing, the loss of the second ground at Town Close and a rather damp 2021 season, Chairman, Steve Phoenix, told the 70 members and guests at the Presentation Evening held at Glen Lodge that, “we have plenty to be pleased about.”
After a severely truncated 2020 season, the club has certainly bounced back. Membership is at an all-time high with 70 seniors and over 200 juniors; the re-vamped coaching programme has included all age groups with the addition of All Stars and Dynamos; the club has continued to field 4 Saturday teams and, in total, played 132 matches, including 78 senior and 54 junior games plus 6 women's softball games. The Chairman congratulated the A Team on finishing 2nd in Alliance Division 5 and the Ladies on winning the Shell Norfolk Women's League, the U13s for completing the ‘double' of the Alan Bridgewater Trophy and the South Norfolk Community League and the U17s, U15s and U9s for also becoming their respective South Norfolk divisional champions. 23 Melton youngsters made County squads with Alice Brand awarded the FONYC Girls' Player of the Year award across all age groups while George Fawkes and Rebecca Davey were awarded their county caps for outstanding performances. In addition Maxine Rushton received the Derek Cousins Award for services to Norfolk youth cricket.
Head of Coaching, Matt Rushton presented the South Norfolk Community League medals to the juniors who attended the dinner with Harry Ryan (U17s), U15s Player of the Year, Corey Rushton and U13s Player-of-the-Year James Alcock receiving the champions salvers on behalf of their teams while Women's coach, Jonathan Ellse delightedly accepted the honour of presenting his ladies with the Shell Women's League trophy and medals. Alice Brand who, with Alice Greenslade, played regularly in the senior teams scoring a total of 202 runs and taking 24 wickets, was voted Women & Girls' Player-of-the-Year.
Woody Loines, of shirt sponsor Anglia Pallets, presented the senior Player-of-the-Year awards with the First Team shield going to Chris Greenslade whose 724 runs included 3 centuries and made him the stand-out player. The A Team award was closely contested with Ellse (369), Richard Wood (311) and Sam Mann (308) all scoring 300+ runs, Matt Henderson (23) and Josh Wright (19) among the wickets while Matt Rushton (204 runs, 12 wickets) and Kyle Weston (113 runs, 15 wickets) staked their claim as all-rounders but the trophy went to Jonathan Ellse.
The B Team and C Team winners were conclusive with Imaad Khalid's 495 runs and 10 wicketkeeping dismissals making him an obvious choice for the 3rds while Paul Stevens won the C Team award for his consistency in scoring 274 runs in what was a generally disappointing C Team season in terms of performances. The Sunday Player-of-the-Year was Joey Greenslade who took on the captaincy and with 156 runs and 9 wickets just pipped his best mate, Dom Evans (239 runs and 4 wickets). The Young (Under 17) Player of the Year was Robert Mackintosh who, as captain, led by example scoring 166 runs without being dismissed as the U17s won the South Norfolk Community League but whose left-arm seam bowling saw him make the transition to the first team. Another youngster who made that jump was Corey Rushton who played the most matches during 2021 – 34 – scoring 485 runs and taking 23 wickets and he was voted ‘Most Improved Player.'
The Aldous Special Award for the best performance of the season was a close-run thing between Chris Greenslade and 15-year-old, Sam Davey but the youngster's skill and maturity in scoring an unbeaten 109 for the B Team against Ketteringham Hall, having never previously scored a fifty, deservedly gave him the trophy.
The Chairman thanked the club's sponsors Anglia Pallets, Computer Service Centre, TH Groundcare, The Goat Shed, Yellow Brick Mortgage Advisers, Russen & Hill Estate Agents and Noobru plus a huge team of volunteers from team captains, junior managers, coaches, groundsmen, club officials and committee members, Covid Officers, scorers and statisticians etc. but highlighted the work of three particular pairs of volunteers before asking Vice-President Barry Johnson, also a member of the grounds team, to present three special awards. The President's Shield for the Volunteer (formerly ‘Clubman') of the Year went to Matt and Maxine Rushton whose “energy and commitment,” said the Chairman, “is amazing” and who between them organised the coaching programme, encouraged new coaches and activators to become qualified, ran coaching sessions and holiday camps, managed the U15s and U13 girls' teams (as well as the Norfolk U13 Girls) as well as helping to ensure our covid compliance and assisting with the setting up of new membership management systems.
Trish and Jonathan Ellse carried off the Aldous Volunteer of the Year trophy for their excellent work with the ladies section, coaching, managing, organising softball tournaments and generally raising the profile of the women's game.
The Mike Phoenix/Grenville Ireland ‘double act' was the third duo to receive recognition. Jokingly referred to as “the grumpy groundsmen” the pair have been lovingly attending Melton Park for, in Mike's case, 27 years and are the most irreplaceable of all the volunteers. Their contribution is immeasurable and sometimes overlooked and the small award made as a token of the club's appreciation, is said the Chairman “richly deserved.”
Finally, another pair, the Greenslade brothers, Chris and Joey, thanked all the members who had taken part in the Fantasy Cricket. Trophy winner Richard Waddell and runner-up, Eusha Fawad, were not present to receive their cash prizes but Matt Rushton completed a good night for the family by collecting the third-place prize.
With social interaction severely restricted for two years, the Presentation Evening was a welcome opportunity to meet and chat and generally relax, with the usual suspects relishing a rare chance to hit the dance floor. A big thank-you to Celia Phoenix for her excellent organisation.
A few final stats: Most games, Corey Rushton (34); Most runs, Chris Greenslade 724; Most wickets, Joe Greenslade 34; Centuries, Chris Greenslade (3), Jonathan Ellse, Sam Davey, Sam Mann, Imaad Khalid, Richard Wood (1 each); Best Bowling, Josh Wright 6-16; Most Dismissals, Tim Hales 24 (15 caught, 9 stumped); Appearance Milestone Reached, Connor Stearman (200 appearances)