2013 has proved to be another fantastic year at Moddershall Cricket Club as the Moddershall Junior squads marched on to a number of league titles and cup wins across all age groups. The under 17’s squad went unbeaten and repeated the feat of 2012 by winning the treble – Kidsgrove and District Cricket League and Knockout Cup, and the Noel Banks Cup. The under 15’s squad also went close to achieving the treble as they won the South Moorlands Junior Cricket League and Peter Gething Cup, but unfortunately lost the County Cup final in a closely contested game against Wolverhampton. The under 11’s made up of 8, 9 and 10 year olds won the Subsidiary Cup by 106 runs, and the Under 9’s Cobra’s won their league and finished runners up in the Ralph Mitchell KO Cup.
As well as team successes there were many individual ones for the young players – Irfan Khan, Tom Ball, Rob Price, Elliott Colclough and Tom Hope all scored over 1000 runs. Tom Hope, Muhammad Anis Raza and Kieran Griffin all took over 50 wickets, whilst Ali Shah, Hamaiz Mahmood, Mitch Kelsall and Rob Price were all in the 40’s. In the fielding department Tom Ball took 60 victims behind the stumps – 46 catches and 14 stumpings to win both the North Staffs & South Cheshire Cricket League Division 1A and the Kidgrove & District Cricket League wicket keeping awards, whilst Irfan Khan took a staggering 40 catches and Tom Hope 25 catches.
The Academy also had good representation at District, County and Regional level – Aunn Shah, Josh Crump, Callum Hawkins, Alec Price, Ted Downes and Matty Wright all represented the District at under 10’s. Whilst at County level the following boys were selected:- Callum Hawkins (10’s), Dan Grounds (12’s), Connor Ball (13’s), Muhammad Anis Raza & Hamaiz Mahmood (14’s), Tom Hope, Irfan Khan & Zen Malik (15’s), Tom Ball & Craig Ferns (16’s) and Richard Williams (17’s). Tom Hope also went on to represent the successful Midlands squad which won all of their 5 games at the Bunbury Festival and has been awarded an Academy contract with Worcestershire County Cricket Club along with Zen Malik. Muhammad Anis Raza, Hamaiz Mahmood and Richard Williams were all selected for the SYC EPP extensive player programme which works with Derbyshire County Cricket Club.
Many of the academy players take part in senior cricket each Saturday and around half the players in the four senior sides are under the age of 18, culminating in these boys playing in numerous cup finals and title winning teams as it was a successful season for the senior squads too. One of the highlights of the season has to be the 1st team XI beating Penkridge in the final of The Andrew Knighton Cup, early in September with a side which comprised of 9 players aged 18 and under. Moddershall restricted the home team to 224 for 9 off their 40 overs – Tom Hope 3 for 28, Richard Williams 3 for 55 and Rob Price 2 for 35, then knocked the score off for the loss of 5 wickets with 7 overs to spare with Tom Hope (42no) and Kashif Bhatti (116no) sharing an unbeaten stand of 165 to see Moddershall home. The win went some in making up for the disappointment of losing the County Cup Final by the narrow margin of just 2 runs.
All this was a far cry from 2010 when for the 2nd season running the club had failed to put out an under 9’s softball league side and numbers in the academy had dropped alarmingly to well below 40! In 2011 they were able to field 2 under 9’s softball teams comprising of mainly 5/6&7 year olds who played non competitive round robin games. In 2012 there was continued improvement and further progress was made when 2 under 9’s teams played in the league format and 1 in the round robin. The 2013 season saw even greater progress with 3 teams playing under 9’s softball cricket in the league format. Indeed further strides have been made as we have been able to field an u13 team after having few juniors at this age group when they were u9’s. From less than 40 members in 2010 Moddershall now has close to 150 boys and girls in its Academy, aged between 5 and 17, which is resulting in the afore mentioned successes on the pitch leading to many friendships being formed off the pitch, due to the clubs family friendly atmosphere which is being created.
It’s taken a lot of hard work to see what’s been achieved in such a relatively short space of time, and the Academy continues to be expertly run on the coaching side by one of the clubs ECB level 3 coaches Andy Housley, and on the administration side by Paula Hawkins. The key factor for the success on the pitch and the continued growth, which has been achieved by word of mouth and recommendations, is very simple – low player to coach ratio, which currently stands at around 5 or 6 players to 1 coach. The club currently has 22 ECB qualified coaches, including two level 3’s, and over this winter they plan to progress four level 1 coaches to level 2, and seven new volunteers are planning to take level 1. A number of the coaches are older academy squad players who are keen to support their club, 16 year old Kieran Griffin who is about to embark on the level 1 course says “Some of us have played at Moddershall since we joined the under 9 squad and are now in the successful u17’s team. It seemed a natural progression to want to assist with the coaching as it’s a way of putting a little back in to the club that has supported us. We have a great support network from the lead coaches who mentor us which gives us the knowledge and confidence to move forward”. Level 1 coach Frankie Shenton, aged 17, added “It also helps with the family feel to the club as all the youngsters get to know everyone across the age groups and it’s great to see the younger players making strides in to the game”.
Moddershall Cricket Club Winter coaching takes place at Sandon High School ST3 7DF after October half term and commences on Thursday November 7th / Friday November 8th, and anyone interested in coming along please contact Andy on 07887 723 495. Boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 17 are welcome. Details can also be found on the Moddershall Play Cricket web-site – http://moddershall.play-cricket.com/home/home.asp