Words: Simon Travers
All four of Cornwood’s DCL teams had to cancel on Saturday because of the rain. Across the county, it was a day to win the toss and backstroke as only one game was completed. That provides space for the spotlight to shine on the Colt’s section of the club as they celebrated on Friday with the end of season awards night.
The Under 11s played a league final on Monday against a very strong Plymouth team at the neutral venue of Ivybridge. Our Under 11s won their division courtesy of sweeping Hatherleigh in a Sunday double-header in June. It’s been a while since I’ve watched an Under 11s game. Some things have changed and some things stay resolutely the same. It’s clear that the playing standards at Under 11s are going up. Little details show like the quality and bravery of the boundary stops, the number of bowlers with the ability to get the ball swinging. Jon Way and his team of coaches have worked to build a disciplined and resilient side.
Cornwood were put into bat by their opponents. One thing that hasn’t changed in Under 11s is that with most matches played on astroturf wickets, adjusting to a low bounce Ivybridge wicket in a final requires a maturity you can’t expect from an Under 11 team. Hopefully the boys took comfort from Joe Root’s dismissal in this week’s test, as they saw plenty of balls that did the same. Plymouth bowled fast and held a tight line. There was not a point in the innings when things got easier and each Cornwood pair had to battle. AJ Black and Bertie Costiff put on 31-1 in the second pair partnership and Marriott Way hit a couple of boundaries later too. The opponents were also sharp in the field, taking four run outs, meaning the Under 11s scored 87-12 in their 20 overs and a net total of 227.
Winning was not a realistic option from there but the boys still found a little miracle as AJ Black took the first hat-trick anyone can recall in an Under 11s league final. AJ faced Plymouth Captain Evan Burke and Luca Loye in the eleventh over. Burke was attacking with 15 runs including a six from 10 balls. First ball was a dot, second ball a single to get Burke off strike. Third ball, AJ pitched it up full to Loye and rattled his stumps. Fourth ball, the adrenaline was starting to flow for AJ as he found a bit extra that forced a mis-timed shot from Burke that AJ caught himself with a diving effort. Hat-trick ball was a virtual repeat of the last as AJ drew another false shot from Loye and claimed the catch himself. Happy carnage ensued.
AJ took another wicket in his last over to finish with figures of 3-0-28-4. There were also wickets for Marriott Way, Noah Knapman and James Moorcroft. Plymouth scored 161-7 in their 20 to finish with a net score of 326 and a 99 run win.
There is so much to celebrate with the 25 strong squad of Under 11s from their year. There have been plenty of hardball debuts, with Jacob Atkins taking a wicket with his first ball as a hardball bowler. Marriott Way and AJ Black have both scored 100+ runs and taken 10+ wickets. Rehaan Chattejee took 14 wickets at a tiny average and James Moorcraft took 8 wickets at an average of under 10. Choosing the awards was tough, but this year, Marriott Way was U11 batter of the year, Rehaan Chattejee best bowler, AJ Black best fielder and Noah Knapman most improved.
The Under 15’s added to their season resume in the only other colts game played this week with a 10 run friendly win over Plymouth’s tougher Mountwise side. Batting first, the Under 15s were uncharacteristically loose as players got going and then got out on the way to a total of 127. Dylan Squire hit 50* from 43 for Plymouth, but the Under 15s protected their score. The match turned on a spell of 4-1-7-4 for Greg Thomas. Weather permitting, the Under 15s are in action on Monday against Plymstock in the WDYL Cup semi-final.
On awards night, manager Adam Whiting and coach Chris Bowden had some of the easier choices to make. Rocky Travers won best Under 15s batter, Harrison Hodge got the bowling award, fielder of the year Seb Giles’ 9 catches were tied top across all WDYL divisions, and Robbie Wooderson was most improved player. Robbie came new to cricket this year and took a wicket in his first match.
The Under 13s Boys had their final game of the season postponed but were presented with the league trophy for the second year running. The Under 13s have been phenomenal this year. They are unbeaten in the league, but also 24 players have played at least 1 game, 5 players have played their first ever hardball game, 8 of the squad have scored over 100 runs and 18 players took wickets. As team manager, Ryan ‘Chewy’ Hewitt has put in an incredible shift to organise friendlies and league games and harmoniously manage a large squad. Si Garland, Steve Martyn and Sam Griffiths have also helped with coaching.
With a range of great performances, Under 13s Awards winners were also a tough pick as so many players deserve a shout. Edmund Goodwin was most improved, taking on the opener role and being the teams second highest wicket taker. Fielder of the year is Freddie Joynes for a remarkable season. Bowler of the year is captain Ayaan Chattejee as the team’s leading wicket taker. Batter of the year is Stanley Baker for 251 runs at an average of 126.
2023 was the first year of Girls Under 13 cricket and the team, managed by Luci Atkins, have won 6 from 9 so far against teams from South Devon. On awards night, you could see the confidence and togetherness shining from the team. This is another team who have benefitted from Cornwood’s approach of running training through the winter. The investment of Monday nights at Ivybridge school gym by coaches, parents and players alike pays off; not only in performance levels, but in the way that teams know each other when they gather in April. For the Girls, Millie Julian was best batter, Eva Moyle best bowler, Nadine Harkness best fielder and Isla Fisher most improved.
Andy Rickard has continued to do an incredible job of working with the acorns and Under 10s teams. Andy has been central for so long to the whole vision of Cornwood colts being as friendly and welcoming as any in the county. All the other coaches build with the base code that Andy and his team programme from day one. For the Under 10s boys, Jacob Bunker was best batter, Freddie Hodge best bowler, Edward Ledger best fielder and William Evel most improved. For the Under 10 girls, Ojasvie Dhulkotia was best batter, Lily Newman best bowler, Ava Bees best fielder and Alex Newman most improved.
The final awards of the night were the four awards open to all the colts sections.
The Bill Pinhey special merit award is open to all playing members of the club for an outstanding individual performance. This year’s award went to Seb Clewer of the Under 13s for his incredible spell of 2-1-8-5 including a hattrick against Tavistock. In his first over, Seb used pace to get two wickets in two balls. He couldn’t quite get the hat-trick first time but that came in his second over with the help of spin. If it hadn’t been for the weather, Seb would have made his adult debut this weekend.
The Brian Gould Trophy is for anyone in the colts who goes above and beyond what might be expected from them. Rocky Travers won the award this year for his contribution by volunteering regular support for winter training and for the example that he has set for younger players. In the 13-year history of the award, Rocky is the first colt to have won the Brian Gould Trophy twice.
The Colts Managers Award is given to the player the Managers identify as having had an exceptional season. This year it goes to Harrison Hodge. At the time of writing, no player has bowled more overs or taken more wickets across the club than Harrison. He has taken 17 wickets at 9.24 for the Under 15s including a five-fer against Plympton St Maurice and a four-fer against Launceston. Harrison has broken into the adults set-up with five 3XI wickets already at an average of 24.80. He has held his own with the new ball in two appearances for the Twos as well. With a nagging line and length and a proven ability to move the ball, Harrison goes from strength to strength.
The Colt of the Year for 2023 is Josh Whiting. Josh captained the Under 15s and was the all-rounder glue that gave the team cohesion. With his powerful leg-side hitting and a skiddy, fizzing bowling action, Josh is the most Lewis Gregory-style player to come out of Plympton since Lewis Gregory. For the Under 15s, he has so far scored 198 runs and took 10 wickets at 15.90 in the league and cup. In WDYL league and cup play, that puts him 5th in the batting charts and 6th in the bowling for Under 15s. Josh has been growing with the men’s teams, taking 7 Fourth team wickets so far at an average of 25.71. What sets Josh apart is his ability to perform in key moments. His highest score of the season came as the Under 15s were pushed against PCS&R. His best all-round performance was away against Lewdown where, in tough conditions, he fought for 27* before taking 4-18 to secure an unlikely three run victory. That win set the tone for the Under 15s for the rest of the season.
Congratulations to Josh, Harrison, Rocky and Seb, and all of the awards winners. It’s been a great year of colt’s cricket. For that to happen, it takes real commitment from players, parents, coaches, managers and all the back-room staff at the club. When you see a hundred young people spread out over the two pitches on a Friday night though, you know something special is happening. Let’s keep building.
Next weekend, weather permitting, the Under 19 Cyclones start their T20 campaign with a home game against Plymouth. Let’s pack Oak Park and get the atmosphere rocking for the lads. On Saturday, the Ones travel to Heathcoat while the Twos host Babbacombe. The Threes are on the road to Chudleigh while the Fours host Brixham. Sunday sees the Women’s Softball team take the trip north to play Holsworthy, Hatherleigh and Braunton.