CRICKET: Willoughby reflect on encouraging season

Nick Crane receiving his award from club president Eric Palmer
Nick Crane receiving his award from club president Eric Palmer

Crane and Button big winners at annual presentation evening

Pictured are Nick Crane, Ian Button and Adam Whitfield being presented with their awards by Club President, Eric Palmer.

Ian Button and Eric Palmer

Ian Button and Eric Palmer

Nick Crane and Ian Button were the big winners at Willoughby Cricket Club’s Annual Presentation Evening held recently at the Rainsbrook Conference Centre in Rugby as the club took time to look back on another encouraging season.

Crane took the club’s 1st XI Bowling and Senior Cricketer of the Year awards in his debut season for the club which also saw him finish as the leading wicket taker in Division 1 of the South Northants Cricket League (SNCL). Buttton for his part was awarded Saturday 2nd XI player of the year and Clubman of the Year.

On the field, the club’s Saturday 1st XI flirted with the prospect of promotion from Division 1 of the SNCL before finishing in third place, essentially one win outside of the promotion places. However there is an optimism that with a steady and consistently perfoming side with slight improvements with the bat that they may go one step further and push for elevation to the Premier Division during 2017.

Similarly, Willoughby’s 2nd XI on a Saturday were in the Division 3 promotion picture entering the last month, before falling back to fourth place come season’s end; again a creditable showing in their first season since being promoted.

Adam Whitfield receiving his award from club president Eric Palmer

Adam Whitfield receiving his award from club president Eric Palmer

WCC’s midweek XI in the Rugby and District Cricket League (RDCL) finished in a mid-table spot in Division 3, whilst there is further encouraging signs from the club’s Sunday friendly XI. Due to renewed interest, the club’s fixture programme on a Sunday increased to that of previous years and was well supported particularly by some of the club’s up and coming youth cricketers continuing their development with some useful performances both collectively and individually.

Junior and youth cricket at Willoughby continues to go from strength to strength, with the club again fielding teams at Under 11, Under 13 and Under 15 levels in the RDCL.

A mixed age Under 11s side enjoyed a useful season by finishing fourth in the league, and also playing a number of friendlies for the younger players in the group taking their first steps into the hard ball game.

Similarly the Under 15s had a more fruitful campaign that belies their mid table league position in what was again a strong league.

The club’s Under 13s enjoyed a fine season by finishing Under 13 league champions in the RDCL and narrow runners-up in the KO Cup, rounded off by a successful end of season tour to Somerset.

Equally encouraging was the number of youth players continuing to show their maturity and development with bat and ball in the club’s senior teams. With another handful of players going on to join those of the last few years in getting their club caps by making their senior debuts, it won’t be long before the club’s junior and youth cricketers will mature to form the majority if not all of one senior team in their own right.

In a new move to accommodate the number of players moving through the junior cricket ranks, Willoughby also fielded a team at Under 12 level in the Warwickshire Cricket Board Youth League, where the team runners-up in their home and away division missing out on the Finals by a single point.

Plus the club again saw a healthy increase in its membership at Kwik Cricket level, which from their weekly Sunday morning sessions will see many of the group move into the hard ball game next season.

Club President and Treasurer Eric Palmer presented all junior cricket members of the club with individual medals in recognition for their efforts and caps to those making their senior debuts.

After hearty dialogue from Saturday 1st and 2nd XI captains Ian Hughes and Ben Hollis, Mr Palmer also presented the following senior cricket awards:-

Saturday 1st XI Captain’s Player of the Year: Graham Hallam

Saturday 2nd XI Captain’s Player of the Year: Ian Button

Saturday 1st XI Batting: Tom Stevenson

Saturday 1st Bowling: Nick Crane

Saturday 2nd XI Batting: Manny Sidhu

Saturday 2nd XI Bowling: Average Antony Franks

Taverner’s Awards

Senior Cricketer of the Year: Nick Crane

Junior/Youth Cricketer of the Year: Adam Whitfield

Clubman of the Year: Ian Button

Fielder of the Year: Frank Claydon

Wooden Spoon (for most ducks in a season): Sean Thornton

Many thanks again 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 2017 season with pre-season training and practice starting early in the New Year.

The club will head indoors to the facilities at Bilton School from January, with the seniors and Under 15s training on Wednesday evenings, and the Under 11, 13 and 15s training on Saturday afternoons.

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 karl@karlquinney.co.uk. or visit the club website at www.willoughbycc.org.uk