Devon Under 16s
2002 Season's Report
Played 10 Won 4 Lost 4 Abandoned 2
South West Group Joint Winners
v HABARDASHERS’ ASKE at Axminster C.C. - Match Abandoned without a ball being bowled
v WALES at Seaton C.C. - Match Abandoned as a draw
WALES 136-8 (L.Loveridge 4-18)
v HEREFORDSHIRE at Seaton C.C. - Devon won by 8 wickets
HEREFORDSHIRE 110 all out
DEVON 113-4 (J.Horton 30)
v DORSET at Bournemouth Sports Club. - Devon won by 17 runs
DEVON 179-7 (P.Wass 38)
DORSET 162 all out (A.Parker 4-23, C.Miles 3-39)
v CORNWALL at Perranarworthal C.C. - Devon won by 2 wickets
CORNWALL 204-9 (C.Miles 5-31)
DEVON 208-8 (M.Bettiss 70)
THE ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL
v HERTFORDSHIRE at GKN C.C. - Devon lost by 57 runs
HERTFORDSHIRE 180 all out
DEVON 123 all out
v BERKSHIRE at Newport C.C - Devon lost by 7 runs
BERKSHIRE 137 all out (C.Jenn 3-23, L.Loveridge 3-35)
DEVON 130 all out (N.Watkin 41, A.Parker 33)
v OXFORDSHIRE at Brading C.C. - Devon lost by 6 wickets
v ESSEX at Newport C.C. - Devon won by 10 runs
DEVON 175-4 (T.Bowring 58*)
ESSEX 165 all out (N.Watkin 4-34)
v GLOUCESTERSHIRE at Shanklin C.C. - Devon lost by 9 wickets
DEVON 138 all out (A.Parker 70)
THE 2002 SQUAD
N.Watkin (Captain), M.Bettiss (Vice Captain), T.Bowring, J.Carr, R.Discomb, J.Fraser, J.Herbert-Read, T.Hill, J.Horton, C.Jenn, L.Loveridge, C.Miles, R.Milton, A.Parker, T.Piper, T.Porter, P.Wass, M.Wigley
A season of two halves! Normally we build up momentum through the year to finish on a high but in 2002 the under 16s started really encouragingly only to taper off in the Isle of Wight. We failed to qualify for the National finals by one wicket, this would have completed a hat trick of appearances but was not to be. We started the season, as we have for the last three, with an abandoned game against Haberdashers’ Aske School and this was followed by a more important abandonment with Wales. For it was Wales who went through to the National Finals having taken one more wicket than Devon. After the forty-second over we were in a very strong position, having restricted them to 136-8, when the rain started and despite valiant attempts we were unable to return. Under the rules the wickets we had taken did not count but it was reassuring to see key bowler Leon Loveridge taking 4-18 off his ten overs. The skipper Nick Watkin picked up a couple of wickets.
We easily despatched our next opponents Herefordshire thanks to a good all round performance. Our visitors won the toss and were reduced to 88-8 after 43 overs. Fraser (1-23) and Miles (1-25) opened well, Jenn (2-19) and Parker (2-11) carried on the good work and Loveridge (1-15) and Wigley (2-11) completed the job. Despite a 22 run ninth wicket partnership Herefordshire were all out in the final over. With Jack Horton (30 off 38 balls) and Tim Hill (25*off 26 balls) batting in a confident manner, the result was never in doubt and the target was reached by the twenty-first over.
Our visit to Bournemouth proved fruitful with a tight 17 run win. Nick Watkin won the toss and decided to bat. Most of the top order got in and then got out but Phil Wass, fresh from his trip to the West Indies, batted 84 minutes facing 77 balls for his 38. Tim Hill’s 36-ball 26 also gave the batting some momentum but the final score of 179 looked light. With Dorset 102-3 with 14 overs left things looked bleak. Craig Miles (3-39), Adam Parker (4-23) and a brilliant run out changed the whole complexion of the match and with an outstanding fielding performance the initiative changed. James Herbert-Read’s five overs at three helped turn the tide and with a catch marked a good county debut. Seven catches, two run outs and a stumping reinforced the importance of being a good athletic fielding side. Dorset was all out in the last over the side returned to Devon in good spirit.
The game against Cornwall was even more exciting, as the team got home by two wickets and two balls. Craig Miles took his first five wicket haul for the county and he was well supported in the field. Cornwall opted to bat first and, with three key innings, built up a reasonable total on an attractive and high scoring ground. Tim Piper took two excellent catches as an underage player and Chris Jenn bowled a superb opening spell taking 2-10 before completing his first quota. The end product of 204 was most certainly within the reach of the side. Our response was lead by Tom Bowring and Nick Watkin, who put on 59 in nineteen overs both getting out on 23 but it was a crucial fourth wicket stand of 92 in 116 balls between Marc Bettiss and Tim Hill that took the side to 169 after 43 overs. Bettiss returned to the form he had displayed earlier in his career. For long he had been one of the sides leading batsmen as well as an outstanding keeper. Over recent seasons he had lost his way a little but with increased concentration he showed everyone that you do not lose talent. He maintained this high standard for the rest of the season at 17s and 19s. He was eventually run out after facing 97 balls, hitting 9 fours in an excellent 70. Hills 26 was also vital. It was left to under 15 debutant Tim Piper to set up an exciting climax then Richard Milton struck two fours off the third and fourth balls of the last over to complete a famous win. Had we taken Cornwall’s final wicket we would have travelled to Hertfordshire!
The Isle of Wight Festival was disappointing. We restricted well in the field but did not score sufficient runs at the right tempo. We were again fortunate with the weather and opened up the festival against Hertfordshire. We were invited to field and, with the ECB Chief Executive watching his son share in an opening stand of 109 in 26 overs, we were back peddling. However the side kept doing the basics and, after two fifties from the openers, no other batsman scored 20 as Hertfordshire was all out in the last over, Miles and Wigley picking up a couple of wickets each. One hundred and eighty on the first day of a festival should have been gettable but our batting was very disappointing with Tom Bowring top scoring with 24 and we were all out before the fortieth over. Not the normal good start to the week.
We again lost the toss against Berkshire and went on to lose by seven runs. A fine bowling and fielding performance bowled the opposition out in the penultimate over. Chris Jenn's bowling was as penetrative as ever and he took 3-23 off nine overs. Leon Loveridge throughout the season was struggling to regain his true form, which had been restricted by the weather and a lower level of adult competitive cricket. He still picked up three wickets firing on two cylinders! With Marc Bettiss away with the 19s at the quarter-finals at Stratford, Nick Watkin confirmed what an amazing all round cricketer he is with an exlempory performance behind the stumps. He had unselfishly remained with the 16s because of his captaincy responsibilities. He was a key player at the older age level and it is likely that the 19s missed his presence. Watkins (128 mins; 105 balls) and his Barton colleague Adam Parker were the only batsman to come to terms with the Berkshire spinner Trewby who took 7-40 off his 14 consecutive overs. On paper the game looks slightly closer than it should have been, as Devon were 104-9 off 44 overs and it was a last wicket stand of 26 off 25 balls between Parker and Herbert-Read that took the game to the nail biting stage. After a fifty minute stay facing 39 balls Parker was stumped after an excellent innings.
We batted first the next day against Oxfordshire but fared no better. Bowring (28), Watkin (22), Wigley (25) played cameos but did not push on. Wass, under 14 captain James Carr and Richard Milton reached double figures but 158 was no where near enough. It still took Oxfordshire 48 overs to reach their target losing only 4 wickets. Loveridge bowled his 15 overs at three and Leon, Jenn, Parker and Carr picked up a wicket a piece. Stern’s 108 ball 76 was a match winnings innings.
The highlight of the week and the season was our first ever win against Essex. In a fluctuating game Tom Bowring batted through the entire innings, a remarkable achievement and to the writer’s knowledge not previously achieved at this level. He batted 169 minutes and faced 154 balls hitting two fours in his 58. Marc Bettiss (29) and Tim Piper (29*) made useful contributions in stands of 68 and 52. We would have preferred perhaps another thirty runs. The final victory was due to exceptional leadership and bowling from Nick Watkin (9.5 overs 4-34), guts and determination from the side. At 141-6 with 33 balls left it seemed that Essex were in the driving seat. However a brilliant run out and some good out fielding reduced them to 165 all out in the forty-ninth over. Essex had two very good batsmen in Patel and McQueen but all our bowlers performed well and again we fielded to a high standard holding four catches, a stumping and two run outs and it was a very, very satisfactory result.
We were back down to earth with a huge bump the next day as the Gloucester opener took us apart. Our final score of 138 was due entirely to a memorable 70 from Adam Parker. He batted 78 minutes faced 70 balls and hit 10 fours and 2 sixes. He went in at 45-5 and with exciting stroke play got his side out of a very deep hole. With Miles he put on a new record partnership of 52 for the ninth wicket. It was a top innings in difficult circumstances, taking on a good Gloucester attack and playing a magnificently positive innings. However, it was apparent that the Gloucestershire opener fancied the beach as his onslaught took his side home in 22 overs. Robson was undefeated in a 68-ball 80, another exceptional innings.
A disappointing conclusion to a season that promised so much. We missed another consistent middle order batsman to support our openers Watkin and Bowring and the rejuvenated Bettiss. Marc had a full season of Premiership cricket plus keeping for the 17s and 19s but was a vital cog in all his teams. He was a helpful vice captain and formed a good leadership team with Nick Watkin. We bowled and fielded generally to a very high standard with a useful range of seamers, who can all make a useful contribution with the bat. Leon Loveridge was disappointed with his performances but his outstanding form of 2001 will return and he can treat 2002 as part of his learning curve. Watkin was exceptional, trying sometimes to do too much but was a credit to those who have helped him develop. Looking to 2003 we have got to have the ability and self belief to score 350 plus on flat tracks and know that we can bowl and field as well as most.
This was David Gibson’s last season and trip to the Isle of Wight with us, our thanks for his major contribution over the years at all three age groups. His input has extended my own involvement and no one could seek a better colleague. His successors have a difficult act to follow. In Gibbo’s absence David Court helped us in Cornwall. Our thanks to both David’s, also to our excellent host clubs Axminster and Seaton, Percy Govier our festival umpire, John Gauler and the Devon Society of Umpires for their major contribution, our scorer Elizabeth Webb and the entire squad and parents.
The Cecil Wensley Player of the Year Cup was awarded to Nick Watkin for his outstanding all round contribution to the side with bat, ball, behind the stumps and outstanding leadership.