SWCC Junior Boys – Awards Presentation

South Wilts junior boys’ teams celebrated another season of success at their recent Annual Awards Evening.
2018 proved to be a difficult season with the Wiltshire Youth Cricket League (WYCL) reporting a record number of cancellations: a lot of forfeitures and weather-affected games. South Wilts’ teams were hit harder than most in the top divisions with some clubs seemingly unwilling to make the trip to the south of the county.
The U11Bs, a mixture of U9s being introduced to hard-ball cricket and the U11 squad, actually managed to play all eight of their games, only one of which was ended by the rain. There were excellent performances with the bat with seven boys getting scores above 20. Finn Robinson (31no) and Arthur Moore (37) played notable innings but for his consistent performances, including a high score of 26no the U11B Batsman of the Year was Thomas Whiting. Bowling was where the U9s showed their real qualities with Alex Evans (3 for 1) and George Gundill (2-0) producing memorable spells. However, the U11B Bowler of the Year was awarded to Harry Shardlow.
The U11s meanwhile finished as runners-up in their division with just one early season loss to Swindon against them. Their chance to rectify that in the return match was naturally washed out! There were consistently good performances across the squad over the season with notable successes against Sandroyd School, Chafyn Grove and East Devon. Batsman of the Year was Matthew Falconer who made 285 runs from his 7 innings, including three fifties only being out twice. Freddie Higton (188) and Sam Reeve (145) also contributed well. Bowler of the Year was Bertie Dorman who took 10 wickets at an average of just 5.5. Finn White, Matt Falconer and Freddie Higton were also regular wicket-takers. The Most Improved Player of the Year was presented to Luke Payne.
The U13s suffered badly with the forfeitures and cancellations, only managing to complete three WYCL fixtures which obviously discounted them from any chance of league honours. They did however win the Wiltshire County Cup with a win over Goatacre. Their chance of progression in the national stages was hit by serious availability problems though and they lost narrowly at old Bristolians with a threadbare side. The Batsman of the year was Nat Burke, Bowler of the Year James Brewer and Most Improved Player of the year was Oliver Bate.
The U15s had a terrific season with many of the boys making their mark in senior cricket as well. It was a competitive WYCL with some good sides in the top division but South Wilts emerged unbeaten. The final game league decider against Corsham was ended by persistent rain but South Wilts were in a pretty decent position in that game too. They also had a superb win against East Devon where Edward Wade and Ben Higton span the team to victory. However, it was the cup run that defined the season with South Wilts repeatedly having to battle back from adversity to emerge victorious.
Against Potterne in Round One, the team were 30-4 off 10 overs. It seemed the end of the road there and then, but Adam Young, Ben Higton and Jamie Ball rallied to 107-7 which, although under par, proved to be more than enough with an efficient bowling performance. In the next round against a joint Biddestone and Malmesbury side, who had beaten Corsham in the previous round, a superb batting effort managed to chase down 119-2 with Jayden Atkinson, Adam Young, Max Allen and Chris Chaddock seeing the target off. The County Final win was the one time the team batted to their full potential totalling 147-2 with runs for Edward Wade, Jayden Atkinson, Chris Chaddock and Max Allen. Chippenham made a good fist of the chase but were never truly in it.
The Regional Playoff win against Dumbleton was then one of those games that lives long in the memory. The hosts were a seriously good side – filled with Worcestershire and Gloucestershire stars – and they really thought they had a great chance of going all the way in both U13 and U15 National Competitions. That was how good a win it was, and again the team did it the hard way. The wicket was damp and South Wilts struggled to just 86 and that was mainly due to Edward Wade’s 30 and a terrific last wicket stand between Josh Croom and Ed Nash. Dumbleton were 3 down quickly in reply as South Wilts bowled and fielded like demons. Dumbleton rebuilt the innings well but were never allowed to get away and it came down to the last over and then 4 needed off the last ball. Eddie Stagg bowled straight and true and the win belonged to South Wilts.
The Regional Playoffs at Millfield School were then very disappointing. The opportunity to progress to the National Finals denied by the British weather. In soaking conditions whoever won the toss was going to win and that proved their undoing.
Leading run scorer for the squad was Edward Wade hitting 315 runs with a top score of 72no and two other 50s. Max Allen scored 292 runs with 96 being one of his two fifties. Jayden Atkinson hit 255 with 2 fifties and some huge sixes along the way. Chris Chaddock (194), Ben Higton (190). George Milton, Adam Young and Roly Glover all added to what was an all-round batting effort from the boys. In the cup it was mainly Edward Wade and Jayden Atkinson, but for topping the league charts with 240 in 6 innings at an average of 120, Max Allen was awarded the U15 Batsman of the Year.
The strength of the squad was in the bowling and they repeatedly had to dig the team out of problems. Leading wicket-taker was Jayden Atkinson with 18 wickets but there were big contributions from Eddie Stagg (13), Ben Higton (10), Edward Wade (12) and Chris Chaddock (12). Eddie Stagg, who started playing in the U9s at the tender age of 6 and has gone all the way through the junior system and was such a consistent performer was presented with the U15 Bowler of the year.
The Coach’s Player of the Year was awarded to skipper Chris Chaddock. The Under 15s were truly a team and every team needs a leader, someone to hold his nerve on the pitch, someone who listens but will make his own decisions, someone who will back his team-mates and who leads by example. Like Again having been with the club from Under 9s and having turned up to every training session, Chris Chaddock was a deserving winner. Finally, the prestigious U15 Player of the Year was awarded to Jayden Atkinson. Always giving 100% with bat and ball, he scored some serious runs, did some serious hitting and with good quality seam and swing bowling to boot, he was a fitting recipient.

Rob Pittman