Cooper in spotlight at Melton awards

ALEX Cooper celebrated a record-breaking season with two awards at Great Melton Cricket Club's presentation dinner at Glen Lodge, Bawburgh last Saturday.

ALEX Cooper celebrated a record-breaking season with two awards at Great Melton Cricket Club's presentation dinner at Glen Lodge, Bawburgh last Saturday.

The 80 assembled guests saw 18-year-old Cooper return from 'freshers fortnight' at Sheffield University to pick up the Aldous Special Award for the best performance of the season as well as the Sunday player of the year trophy.

Cooper's 1374 runs, including two centuries, was a new club record and he also broke the 24-year-old record for the best first-team partnership when he and Richard Wood compiled 225 against Norwich.

Despite also weighing in with some valuable wickets, Cooper lost out to Wood as first team player of the year.

Wood, the winner in 2008, retained his trophy by scoring 726 runs at an average of 60 as the first team finished fifth in Division Four in their first season in the Norfolk Alliance.

A-team player of the year was Paul Stearman while the B and C-team awards went to two of the club's younger players. Phil Lachowycz's batting exploits earned him the B-team trophy while up-and-coming wicketkeeper, George Ducker, won the C-team award.

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Like Cooper, Ducker was also a double winner, being also voted the club's most improved player. George Bunn, who scored 511 runs and took the most wickets of any of the club's bowlers, 61, was U17 player of the year.

Clubman, not surprisingly, was hard-working groundsman Mike Phoenix who picked up the trophy for the seventh time. The Aldous Special Clubman Shield went to David Bunn for his splendid efforts as coaching coordinator, helping to increase junior membership and the number of coaches, preparing coaching plans for the

twice-weekly sessions and delivering high-quality coaching himself.

Chairman Steve Phoenix said that the season had been one of consolidation with all four of the club's Saturday teams playing in higher divisions than in 2008. He congratulated the Sunday team on gaining promotion to the Shield Premier Division of the Mid-Norfolk League, the midweek team on winning the Wensum Cup and the U15s on winning the South Norfolk Community League and reaching the Andy Seeley Cup final.

He said that the club had played a record 155 matches that included 50 junior games and had used 122 players, 84 appearing in senior teams. George Ducker made most appearances (48).

Notable milestones in the season were 100 appearances reached by George Bunn, Jon Moxon, Josh Wilson and Nick Gristwood and 400 by Mally Howard and Simon Woods. Tony Alborough passed 10,000 runs for Melton and Leo DeSalis took his 500th wicket.

Twenty-six players reached their captain's targets and Martin Bunn, Matt Clarke, Steve Clarke, Alex Cooper, Leo Desalis, James Dorling, Chris Elliott, Marcus Godbold, Mally Howard, Grenville Ireland, Lee Whiddett, Simon Woods, Simon Brett, George Bunn, George Ducker, Nick Gristwood, Ryan Hayward, George King and Josh Wilson were all present to receive their awards on the night.

With the usual special guest, club president Andy Seeley, unwell the awards were presented by vice-president and co-founder of the club, Chris Lacey.

Great Melton CC's general meeting will be on Wednesday, November 25 (7.30pm) in the clubhouse.