The 1995 Under 16 Season
Played 12                                                                    Won 2                           Lost 10
THE MIDLAND TOUR
v GLOUCESTERSHIRE at Stroud C.C. - Devon lost by 10 wickets
DEVON                                     134 all out               (N.Pope 38)
GLOUCESTERSHIRE                 137 for 0
v HEREFORDSHIRE at Eastnor C.C. - Devon won by 6 wickets
HEREFORDSHIRE                    137 all out                   (N.Pope 3-42, M.Edwards 3-45)
DEVON                                     140 for 4                    (D.Gibson 42, J.Williams 52*)
v WORCESTERSHIRE at Malvern Ramblers C.C. - Devon lost by 131 runs
WORCESTERSHIRE                 238 for 8             (N.Pope 4-68)
DEVON                                     108 for 6                   (A.Bailey 35*)
v WARWICKSHIRE at Harborne C.C. - Devon lost by 106 runs
WARWICKSHIRE                        264 for 5
DEVON                                     158 all out                   (D.Gibson 47, M.Allin 31)
v AVON at Kingswood School - Devon lost by 6 wickets
DEVON                                     147 for 6                    (D.Gibson 31, J.Boase 31*)
AVON                                  148 for 4

FRIENDLY FIXTURES
v WORCESTERSHIRE at Tiverton Heathcoat C.C. - Devon won by 6 wickets.
WORCESTERSHIRE                 162 for 9                      (A.Green 3-38, A.Bailey 3-34)
DEVON                                     163 for 4                     (J.Boase 64, A.Bailey 61*)
v HABERDASHERS ASKE SCHOOL at Axminster C.C. - Devon lost by 3 wickets
DEVON                                     154 all out                 (N.Tremayne 53)
HABERDASHERS                        154 for 7
v WARWICKSHIRE at Bovey Tracey - Devon lost by 1 run
WARWICKSHIRE                      194 for 9            , (M.Edwards 5-49)
Devon                                        193 for 9                         (M.Allin 32, J.Williams 33, D.Orchard 30*)

TEXACO TROPHY FIXTURES
REGIONAL MATCHES
v DORSET at Wayfarers C.C. - Devon lost by 56 runs
DORSET                                      168 all out
DEVON                                 112 all out
v SOMERSET at Sandford C. C. - Devon lost by 7 wickets
DEVON                                     170 all out                 (J.Williams 49, W.Johnstone 36)
SOMERSET                               171 for 3
v CORNWALL at St Austell C.C. - Devon lost by 36 runs
CORNWALL                              181 all out                   (M.Webb 4-31, A.Green 4-27)
DEVON                                     145 all out                  (M.Allin 35, J.Williams 58)
v WILTSHIRE at Hatherleigh C.C. - Devon lost by 40 runs
WILTSHIRE                               171 for 8             (W.Johnstone 3-63)
DEVON                                     131 all out                 (J.Williams 41, D.Gibson 30)
THE 1995 SQUAD

D.Gibson (Captain), M.Allin, C.Ancil, A.Bailey, J.Boase, M.Edwards, L.Elmore, R.Gear, W.Johnstone, A.Green, D.Lye, D.Oliver, D.Orchard, N.Pope, N.Tremayne, J.Williams, M.Webb, M.Wood.

 

The disappointment of the 1995 season was not the poor results but the fact that all the hard work and dedication of the squad was not rewarded by better results. The 1995 Under 16 side, a most polite and well behaved squad, and the players were excellent ambassadors for the County, led by an outstanding captain. The marked weakness of the side was the inability to score enough runs and at the correct pace. A target of 180 runs is the bench mark for a 50 overs match and Devon only reached this score on one occasion and then lost a thriller by one run. It was obvious that the batting shortcomings, which were evident from the first match, would have to be compensated by exceptionally tight bowling and fielding. In fact Devon's bowling and fielding was more than adequate and, had the batting been slightly stronger, the fine line between success and failure in limited overs cricket might have been crossed more often.

 

The season started with the annual Midland Tour and the weather virtually throughout the week was exceptional. The hospitality of the counties matched the weather and the squad enjoyed an excellent week's cricket. In previous years injuries had not played an important part but unfortunately this year injury and illness had a bearing on the side's performances. On Monday Devon lost to Gloucestershire for the first time. On arrival at Stroud, it was obvious that a cloud burst had preceded us and, on losing the all important toss, Devon were inserted on a wet wicket. Gloucestershire then produced an excellent bowling performance which reduced Devon to 19 for 4 (which was virtually for 5 as Matthew Wood was having an X-ray on a suspected broken bone). Devon staged a minor recovery thanks to William Johnstone, Nicholas Pope and the tail wagging but were eventually bowled out for 134. The sun was now shining, the outfield faster and, more importantly, Devon did not bowl well, thus enabling Gloucester to cruise to an easy 10 wicket win in 26 overs, an unfortunate start to the week.

 

After another detailed discussion of the best approach to limited overs cricket, there was an opportunity of starting afresh the next day. On Tuesday at the attractive Eastnor ground the side responded with a most professional performance With Nicholas Pope and off spinner Mark Edwards taking three wickets apiece and with some outstanding fielding including three run outs Herefordshire were bowled out in 48 overs. Devon then batted sensibly scoring at over 4 an over with David Gibson leading by example and more than ably assisted by William Johnstone and Jeremy Williams, who scored an undefeated half century. Unfortunately all the good work came undone the next day when the side were comprehensively beaten by Worcestershire. The day started well when the Worcester Secretary gave a guided tour of the picturesque New Road Ground, Worcester. Whilst watching the full county squad undertake exhausting fielding practices, it brought home to the squad the high level of fitness and skill required at the highest level. On a very warm day Devon fielded and started well, removing three of the top order for 73 runs. The skipper bowled a good spell of leg spin and Edwards and Pope continued where they had left off on the previous day. However a run rate in excess of 41/2 an over was required and it was always going to be difficult to achieve and so it proved to be. However our cause was not helped when Jeremy Williams suffered sun-stroke and Pope injured a finger and both had to retire whilst batting. Alex Bailey batted sensible but no one was able to play the telling innings that was required to give Worcestershire a game.

 

Further disappointment followed the next day when the strong Warwickshire batting line up scored 264 on the small Harborne ground. As this was after the side had been warned that this was a '300 ground', it was not a bad fielding and bowling performance. In fact Warwickshire passed 250 before they lost their second wicket and it was a sign of the character and resolve of the side that the players stuck to their task and kept up the pressure on the home side right up until the last ball of the innings. Devon then made their best start of the season with Matthew Allin and Gibson batting well. On the fall of Allin, William Johnstone then joined the captain and they ensured that the side's run rate kept ahead of Warwickshire's . It appeared that the game 'was on' but sadly Devon

failed to capitalise on the sound foundation and folded disappointingly. In the evening, a trip to Edgbaston, where a Test match was being staged, and a pleasant meal ended the social side of the tour with David Gibson deservedly awarded the 'Tour Tankard'.

 

Avon had not beaten us previously and therefore the second of the unbeaten tour records fell on the final day. Devon batted the full 50 overs but could only score 147 in spite of an unbeaten seventh wicket stand between James Boase and Alex Bailey. A number of the Gloucester players from the first day of the tour were also playing for Avon but there were signs of a definite improvement in the approach of the Devon side. Whatever shortcomings there might have been, keenness to learn and improve was not one of them and throughout the season this attitude was pleasingly obvious and compensated for any deficiencies. Devon made life difficult for Avon, who in fact only had 3.2 overs to spare. Gibson took wickets with good bowling changes and the players gave their all. What more could anyone ask?

 
The opportunity was taken during the three friendly matches to experiment and the signs were encouraging. Worcester were beaten at Tiverton and the side came within one run of beating Warwickshire, who deservedly went on to compete in the National finals. During the superb summer of 1995 not one ball was lost due to rain and Tiverton Heathcoat gave us a repeat performance of last year's splendid day. Worcester batted first and Under 15 opening bowler Andrew Green made a dramatic debut, taking 3-38 off 13 overs. His pace was exciting and with 'Man of the Match' Alex Bailey he bowled intelligently. The fielding was up to the high standard expected and our visitors were 162-9 at the end of the 50 overs. On a wicket that was taking spin the Worcester management felt that it would be an interesting contest as they felt their spinners would enjoy the conditions. In the form of opener James Boase and Alex Bailey, Devon had the batsman for the occasion and they put on 101 for the fourth wicket to win us the game. A most encouraging team performance.

Haberdashers' Aske School paid their second visit to Axminster and for the second year running beat us. Batting first, Devon again failed to score enough runs but Neil Tremayne batted well and scored his maiden county fifty in only his second game. He hit the ball with great power and scored at virtually a run a ball. Alex Bailey gave him good support but again the bowlers had not enough runs to bowl at. They took seven wickets and the School team reached their target with seven balls to spare. After this exciting climax it was even more heart stopping when Warwickshire were the visitors at Bovey Tracey. Devon put on another outstanding bowling and fielding performance and restricted their high scoring visitors to 194 for 9. Mark Edwards bowling a splendid spell of off spin, taking 5-49 of seventeen overs. Devon approached their task sensibly and Matthew Allin, James Boase and Jeremy Williams put the side in a sound position but 8.4 runs an over were needed off the last ten. What followed was the best cricket of the season. From number six downwards every batsman contributed, with David Orchard orchestrating with an undefeated 30. At the fall of the ninth wicket 20 runs were needed and then 12 off the last over to be bowled by Millfield's first team opening bowler Newton. Orchard and Edwards took 11 with Edwards being only a few yards short of the required six off the last ball - a great limited overs performance.

 All four of our Texaco matches were lost, as it was simply impossible to compensate for our batting shortcomings. David Lye joined us for three of the games but was unable to wave the magic wand and transform the batting. Dorset were bowled out for 168 but Devon did not get close and batting first against Somerset, where Jeremy Williams and Will Johnstone batted well, Devon were fifty short of a good score on a beautifully prepared wicket at Sandford. Somerset hit the runs off at 43/4 an over; both these sides went through to the next round. Against Cornwall at St Austell, under normal circumstances Devon would have done the hard work by yet again bowling a side out, with the opening bowlers Mathew Webb and Andrew Green both taking four wickets. However Devon failed by 36 runs despite another fifty from Williams and 35 from keeper Matt Allin. The final game was against Wiltshire, who had also yet to win a game. With Wiltshire at 81 for 5, Devon were apparently in the driving seat but they eventually reached 171 for 8. This time, in spite of skipper David Gibson leading from the front with another 'gutsy' performance and another good knock from Williams, Devon were still 40 runs short.

In writing this report, depression has crept in, but in truth it should not. There are many plus points, the seam bowling of Webb, Green, and Bailey was sound, the spin attack of Edwards, Orchard. Gibson and Johnstone was the most varied of all the counties played and the side's strength. The fielding was excellent, with Bailey's catching outstanding and the keeping of Lee Elmore and Matthew Allin efficient. The side were aware of its batting limitations which unfortunately has a sub conscious effect on the approach in the field. A number of fine cameo innings were scored but, apart from Williams and Bailey, no one else averaged over 20.

 
The advantage of such a season is that there is plenty of scope for improvement and, in view of the quality and calibre of the squad, there is no reason why this improvement cannot be marked. The change in emphasis, with Under 17 cricket becoming the most important age group for domestic cricket, will give this squad another opportunity of reaping some reward next season in the new 'Texaco' competition. They do deserve some success.

 
Sandford's David Gibson had the unenviable task of leading and lifting a naturally quiet squad, (what a joy after the two previous rowdy lots!!) He never let it get him down, well not outwardly at least, and he had an outstanding season. One of the most difficult elements of captaincy is when the results are not going your way and David's response was always positive. He came through the test with flying colours and in the field had a good tactical awareness and an ability to make the right bowling changes. He will have learnt a great deal and his long term captaincy will have benefited greatly from his experience this year. This will be the last year of Under 16 cricket in its existing format and as always there are many people and organisations who make it possible. We thank the Devon C.C.C. and the Devon Cricket Association for their invaluable financial assistance; the host clubs, Tiverton Heathcoat, Axminster, Bovey Tracey, Sandford and Hatherleigh for providing splendid facilities and teas; the Devon Society of Umpires for always ensuring an impartial umpire or two are always at the ground; the coaches for assisting in the squad preparation, - an innovation this year was a day at Sandford just before the Texaco competition which proved very beneficial; the South West's National Coach Gordon Lord for visiting both summer and winter; the parents for travelling hundreds of miles to give support and ensure a fill side and of course the most important of them all the scorer - Thank you to everyone who has helped Devon Under 16 cricket in 1995.



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