CRICKET: Willoughby reflect on season of mixed fortunes

Chairman Brian Hall and Ashley Rayner
Chairman Brian Hall and Ashley Rayner
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Four trophies for Ashley Rayner at Annual Presentation Evening

Willoughby Cricket Club looked back at another interesting year of mixed fortunes during their recent Annual Presentation Evening

This year’s gathering was well-attended by young and old and saw Ashley Rayner pick up a haul of four trophies after a season of personal triumph for the all-rounder.

Performance on the field saw the club’s Saturday XI miss out on a golden opportunity to gain promotion to the Premier Division of the South Northants Cricket League when they finished third in what was a below-par Division 1 compared to previous years.

That disappointment was mirrored by the club’s Second XI on a Saturday as they suffered a dismal season.

Having worked hard in recent seasons to get promoted and get a foot-hold in the division, the much-changed side to that of previous years finished bottom of Division 3 and were relegated.

In the Rugby and District Cricket League (RDCL) on a Wednesday, Willoughby’s Midweek XI also finished third and missed out on promotion from Division 3, but they did have the consolation of making it through to the semi-finals of the League T20 Knock-out Cup.

Away from league cricket, interest in the club’s Sunday Development XI continues to flourish as they enjoyed a successful and enjoyable campaign with more victories than defeats.

Once again, one of the more pleasing aspects was seeing more of the club’s up and coming junior and youth players making the step up to senior level and making their mark, a feature which is hoped will be demonstrated and rightly fully utilised when their talents are put to good use in Saturday league cricket next year.

Willoughby’s junior and youth cricket section continues to go from strength to strength, further emphasised by the club becoming one of the new ECB All Stars Cricket centres in the county, with great success.

The club again also fielded hard ball teams at Under 11, 13 and 15 level in the RDCL. Each team enjoying a good season, with the 15s reaching the Final of that age group’s KO Cup despite the majority of the team playing a year above their actual age.

The 15s also enjoyed a highly successful tour to Yorkshire, winning both of their games on the field and making many friends off it.

Chairman Brian Hall spoke to thank the many who had contributed to the success of the running of the club in the past year, before Club President and Treasurer Eric Palmer got proceedings underway with presentation of awards to all the club’s junior and youth cricketers.

The following senior awards were then presented again by Mr Palmer to the following:-

Saturday 1st XI Batting – Ashley Rayner

Saturday 1st XI Bowling – Nick Crane

Saturday 1st XI Player of the Year – Martin Nichols

Saturday 2nd XI Batting – Keith Gibson

Saturday 2nd XI Bowling – Sean Thornton

Saturday 2nd XI Player of the Year – John Gregson

Sunday XI Batting – Ashley Rayner

Sunday XI Bowling – Mark Fell and Callum Hanks

Wednesday XI Batting – Ashley Rayner

Wednesday XI Bowling –

John Gregson

Taverners Awards:

Senior Player of the Year – Ashley Rayner

Junior/Youth Player of the Year – Hassan Nawaz

Clubman of the Year – Sean Thornton

Fielder of the Year – Frank Claydon

Wooden Spoon (for most number of ducks) – Usama Khawaja

Willoughby CC head into pre-season nets and training at the excellent indoor facilities at Bilton School in January and extend a welcome to interested players to join them ahead of the 2018 season.

The club’s Under 15s get matters underway on Saturday, January 13 with their weekly Saturday afternoon sessions (1pm to 2.30pm) running until the end of March.

Those sessions are followed by Under 11 and Under 13 sessions from 2.45- 3.45pm

The club’s senior players – along with the Under 15s - start their pre-season training on Tuesday, January 23 (8- 9pm), again running every Tuesday until the end of March.

For further details, contact WCC Press Officer Karl Quinney on 07775 883102 or via email at karl@karlquinney.co.uk

To close the year, Willoughby Cricket Club extends best wishes to all their members, and friends from clubs and organisations in the local sporting community for a relaxing and Merry Christmas and a safe, successful New Year.