CRICKET: Willoughby presentation evening

Willoughby Under 11s were unbeaten all season
Willoughby Under 11s were unbeaten all season
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Celebrating a successful season on and off the field

Success and celebration on and off-the-field for Willoughby CC honoured at Presentation Evening

Willoughby Cricket Club looked back on a season of mixed success on the field and one of celebration off it at their recent Presentation Evening at the Rainsbrook Conference Centre in Rugby.

On the field, there was a mixture of disappointment and celebration.

The club’s Saturday 1st XI were relegated from Division 1 of the South Northants Cricket League (SNCL) by virtue of winning one less fixture having finished level on points with the team above them. To emphasise the margins involved, had one more run been scored or one more wicket taken in the final game, then the extra point earned would have kept them up.

In contrast, Willoughby’s 2nd XI secured promotion to Division 3 of the SNCL which was reward for an encouraging season of relative consistency. They clung onto second spot however thanks to a dramatic comeback and victory in the ‘winners takes all’ last game of the season over their nearest rivals. It was perhaps fitting and completed a campaign that saw several new players including some from the junior and youth ranks really begin to make their mark.

Nevertheless whilst there will be the obvious determination for the 1st XI to bounce back at the first time of asking in 2015, the club and all of its senior teams and players can expect to emerge stronger for the future as a result.

WCC’s midweek XI in the Rugby and District Cricket League (RDCL) missed out on promotion on the final game of the campaign for the second year running, whilst it was encouraging to see the club’s Sunday fixture programme bolstered and supported by the club’s senior players and those that continuing to emerge and develop from the junior cricket teams.

In fact, junior and youth cricket at Willoughby continues to go from strength to strength.

The club’s Kwik Cricket section (for boys and girls aged 6 upwards) again saw an increase in playing numbers for their weekly coaching and game sessions which is grounds for great encouragement, as was the external mini-tournaments they attended.

In the hard ball format, the club’s Under 13 team finished a creditable fourth place in the RDCL Under 13 league. Their unbeaten run in the latter half of the season was reward for some useful performances against older teams in the division earlier in the campaign, and bodes well for next season at this level and also at Under 15 level which the club will be fielding a team at in 2015.

To complete the junior cricket picture, the Under 11s completed a memorable season. In only their third season together, the team – the vast majority of which started out together at the age of 7 and 8 in the club’s Kwik Cricket section, went through the whole season unbeaten in all league, cup and friendly games. In doing so, they won the RDCL Under 11 KO Cup after a great performance in the final over Rugby CC, and finished joint champions of the RDCL Under 11 League with Long Itchington; the two sides playing out a thrilling tie in their opening game of the season meaning their league records were identical and teams inseparable.

Off the field, having begun 2014 with another hugely successful Natwest Cricketforce day, the year was rightly dominated by the continued achievements of one man - Eric Palmer.

Eric celebrated his 50th year as Club Treasurer this year, and was honoured with Lifetime Achievement Awards for services to cricket and Willoughby CC by both the Midland Cricket Club Conference at their annual dinner and also Warwickshire County Cricket Board at their Natwest OSCAs; the latter of which also Eric invited to attend and be honoured at the national event at Lord’s.

Either side of that, to reflect his other passion of horseracing, Eric was guest of honour for a Charity Day and Match at the club, played against a team of National Hunt Jockeys, all in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund who quite fittingly were also celebrating 50th anniversary.

As part of the club’s Awards, Club Chairman Brian Hall paid an excellent glowing tribute to Eric outlining the long list of involvements he has commanded as both player and official with the club.

All junior cricket members of the club were awarded individual medals in recognition for their efforts, whilst the Under 11 team collected their league and cup winners medals.

The following senior cricket awards were also presented by Messrs Hall and Palmer.

Senior Playing Awards

1st XI batting – Ian Hughes

1st XI bowling – Lee Johnson

1st XI Captain’s Player of the Year – Lee Johnson

2nd XI batting – Kamesh Ganti

2nd XI bowling – Karl Quinney

2nd XI Captain’s Player of the Year – Kamesh Ganti

Wooden Spoon – Troy Reeves

Willoughby Taverner’s Awards

Senior Cricketer of the Year – Ian Hughes

Young Cricketer of the Year – Manny Sidhu

Clubman of the Year – Tony Adkins

Many thanks to the team at the Rainsbrook Conference Centre for their organisational support and fine hospitality in hosting the club’s Presentation Evening.

* Willoughby Cricket Club will begin their preparations for the 2015 season with pre-season training and practice starting early in the New Year.

The club will once again be using the excellent indoor facilities of Warwickshire College in Rugby for their sessions, running through to the end of March.

Juniors at Under 11 and Under 13 age groups will be on a Saturday (1.15 to 2.30pm), and seniors and Under 15s on a Tuesday evening (8.15 to 9.30pm)

As always, the club extends an invitation for cricketers of any age – both at junior, youth and senior level, to come along, get involved, join and play cricket at Willoughby CC.

For further details, please telephone Karl on 01788 542441, mobile 07775 883102, email karlq@gcleisure.co.uk. or visit the club website at www.willoughbycc.org.uk