Players look back at a fantastic campaign

Wirksworth and Middleton CC's 3rd team.
Wirksworth and Middleton CC's 3rd team.

WIRKSWORTH and Middleton Cricket Club’s spendidly extended and refurbished pavilion was the setting for this year’s annual dinner, a celebration of a truly amazing year.

Club chairman Sue Marshall, in an impassioned speech, paid tribute to everyone involved, for a highly memorable cricket season as well as the support and dedication which made the development plans a reality. It was, she declared, an outstanding achievement.

For the second season running, the club had two teams in the Derbyshire County League promoted as champions of their divisions – the 2nd and 3rd XIs – while the newly-established Sunday side, playing in the Mansfield League, also won their division.

After a poor start to the season, the 1st XI (six defeats from the first eight matches – and bottom of the division) produced a quite remarkable turnaround. With just one further loss (to the last ball of the match), the 1sts finished third in the table, a few points from another promotion.

Elsewhere, two of the eight youth teams – who all enjoyed successful seasons – won their leagues. The girls formed the bulk of the Derbyshire Dales team and six of them represented the county side. W & M CC was the Mayor’s charity of the year and the club benefited from £1,800 worth of new equipment for youth and adult use. In addition, the club was named Derbyshire Dales Club of the Year while the Hopkinson family and James Frost-Gilbert were honoured at the Derbyshire Cricket Awards for services to sport.

The dinner, a splendid meal provided by Rex (whose teas throughout the season have been much appreciated by home and opposition cricketers alike), Paul and Rowan, was enjoyed by about 70 people. Afterwards, the individual awards for players of the season were presented.

For the 1st XI, Stephen Lowe (33 wickets) and who, in the words of captain David Greatorex, didn’t bowl a bad spell all season, shared the honour with Jack Allen, whose return to the club was most welcome. He scored nearly 500 runs and took useful wickets as well.

The 2nd XI, as usual an irresistible mix of veterans and younger players, had several contenders for player of the season; (Andrew Redfern, Neil Doxey, Tom Boylan, Max Marshall).

In the end, for scoring over 700 runs, the players voted for Neil Taylor.

The 3rd XI, promoted for the first time since being established in 1992, was led by Colin Julian’s dynamic captaincy.

They were an engaging combination of ‘old sweats’ (the chairman’s description) and young hopefuls playing enthusiastic and cheerful cricket – and playing it well.

Dayle White was a pillar of the batting (as well as an excellent club coach) along with Colin himself, and, before he was promoted to the 2nds, Peter Ashurst.

The player of the season for the second successive year was Lewis Heap. He took 35 wickets for the 3rd XI while, in all games for the club during the summer, taking a staggering 74 wickets.

The final award of the evening – the chairman’s award – went to the Pavilion Committee, a richly deserved recognition of their effort and energy during the past 18 months.

As Sue Marshall concluded in her speech: “There cannot be many cricket clubs in the country with so much to celebrate at their 2011 annual dinner and I thank each and every one of you for your support, your enthusiasm and your dedication to Wirksworth & Middleton CC. We all look forward to another brilliant season in 2012.”