Youth Section Review Of The Year

Warwickshire League U13s Champions 2020

2020 Another Memorable Season

There was so much to look forward to:
• Pre-season training at Bishop Challoner was going well
• Some of our U13s & U15’s had been given the opportunity to take part in further training with WCB coaches at Handsworth Grammar.
• Funding and coaching had been secured in order set up a dedicated Girls and Women’s Hub

Then Covid-19 struck…

And so we waited, but soon the loss of cricket was put into stark perspective as we learnt that one of our Senior players, Haroon Haider, had succumbed to the virus.

Glorious sunny day followed glorious sunny day throughout the lockdown period with still no sign of any cricket. Then at the end of May we were given permission to begin limited net practice sessions. Eager youngsters queued up to take park, accompanied by parents eager to get them out of lockdown! However, there was still no sign of any cricket matches on the horizon. All the while clubs, the ECB and WCB were wrestling with plans to construct a pathway towards the resumption of recreational cricket.

Frustration followed frustration as Her Majesty’s Prime Minister first told us that the ball was a “significant vector of virus transmission”; then that there was an “issue with cricket teas and changing facilities”. Then suddenly at the beginning of July we were told that matches could resume.

Fixtures were hastily arranged, risk assessments, signage, hygiene precautions and tracking procedures were put in place and so at the end of July, the season finally began.

Word must have also spread throughout the local community that we were back in business, as enquiries followed and we were able to welcome many new children and their parents into the Ashfield family. We look forward to a long and happy association with them and hopefully a more normal season in 2021.

The first team in action were the U10’s softball team with a friendly fixture on a sunny evening at Solihull Blossomfield on 20th July. A shortage of match practice was evident with a defeat, but it was still great to be back on the field of play. This was one of the few defeats that any of our teams across all of the age groups experienced throughout the truncated season, during which it became apparent just what a talented group of players we had.

In all we played just over 30 matches across the Youth Section in 7 weeks: a monumental feat of organisation and great testament to the efforts of our Team Managers: Riaz, Graham, Jules, Duncan, Jo, Tony and Simon.

There were many special moments in those 7 short weeks, but the particular highlights had to be the achievements of the Under 11s and Under 13s; both of whom topped their leagues and progressed to the County play-offs. A thrilling last ball win over Four Oaks Saints saw the Under 11s through to play against Kenilworth Wardens in the final, whereas a more straightforward win for the Under 13s over Earlswood saw them travel to play Coventry and North Warwickshire.

In the end a much bigger, older and stronger Kenilworth Wardens side (only 1 of their team was younger than 11, compared to ours having only one 11 year old) edged out the Under 11s by 7 runs. 15 miles up the road however, it was a different story as the Under 13s were victorious by 7 runs and end the season as Warwickshire League Champions.

more to follow…