Devon Under 19's
1998 Season 's Report
Played 8 Won 2 Lost 1 Won on first innings 4 Lost of first innings 1
Finalist ECB National Two Day Competition
The ECB Under 19 County Championship
v SUFFOLK at Woodbridge School. - Devon won on first innings
DEVON 343 - 8 dec. (T.Alldis46; D.Lye 46; J.Williams 73; D.Gibson 38; M.Edwards 42; R.Hutchings 30)
75 - 2
SUFFOLK 286 all out (A.Green 3-46; A.Bailey 3-28)
v BERKSHIRE at Reading School. - Devon won on first innings
DEVON 347 all out (I.Gamble 66; J.Cruft; D.Lye 66; J.Williams 73)
BERKSHIRE 319 all out (D.Lye 3-43; A.Green 3-59)
v HERTFORDSHIRE at Axminster C.C. - Devon lost on first innings
HERTFORDSHIRE 391 -9 dec. (I.Gamble 5 -123)
DEVON 204 all out (S.Hards 34; D.Lye 35; A.Bailey 42*)
28 - 0
v WILTSHIRE at Braunton C.C. - Devon won on first innings
WILTSHIRE 166 all out (M.Edwards 7-59)
DEVON 300-8 dec. (I.Gamble 34; D.Lye 68; R.Bryan 51)
v CORNWALL at United Services C.C. - Devon won on first innings
CORNWALL 260 all out (M.Edwards 5-86)
63-6 (T.Alldis 5-15)
DEVON 262-7 dec. (I.Gamble 59; T.Alldis 31; J.Cruft 79; L.Elmore 35*)
Quarter Final - 100 Overs
v SHROPSHIRE at Wellington College., - Devon won by 165 runs
DEVON 372 all out (I.Gamble 63; A.Bailey 85; D.Gibson 58; W.Johnstone 55)
SHROPSHIRE 207 all out (S.Hards 3-44; A.Bailey 3-43)
Semi Final - 100 Overs
v NOTTINGHAMSHIRE at Warshop College. - Devon won on faster scoring rate
DEVON 352 -8 inns closed (I.Gamble 55; T.Alldis 33; D.Lye 98; J.Cruft 30; L.Elmore 53; D.Gibson 34)
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE 213-7 (after 69 overs) (T.Alldis 5-84)
Final - 100 Overs
v HAMPSHIRE at the Shenley Park - Devon lost by 6 wickets
DEVON 259 all out (I.Gamble 40; J.Cruft 55)
HAMPSHIRE 260 for 4
The 1998 Squad D.Gibson (Captain), D.Lye (Vice Captain), T.Anning, T.Alldis; P.Arnold, A.Bailey; J.Boase; R.Bryan, D.Court, J.Cruft; M.Edwards, L.Elmore; I.Gamble; A.Green; S.Hards; R.Hutchings; W.Johnstone; A.Wallace; J.Williams.
This remarkable season started with aspersions being cast over the navigation skills of the management as we travelled 400 miles via Birmingham through eight counties to reach Suffolk. Having inspected Woodbridge School the night before we woke to breakfast with the Mitchell Brothers who were seemed more suited for the Queen Vic in Albert Square than playing at one of the county's leading independent schools - Greeny's razor had struck the night before on nearly half the side. On a bright Summer's day David Gibson won the toss and Devon batted. Tim Alldis and Ian Gamble resumed their tried and trusted partnership and put on a very fluent 72 before Alldis was caught at backward point. Gamble went one run later and the side's useful start was disintegrating. Alex Bailey and David Lye then took the score to 113. Lye was on a major rehabilitation programme having had his professional career temporarily ended the previous year due to a knee problem. He was in a typical pugnacious mood and the omens were good. Joined by his old sparring partner, Jeremy Williams, although both looked more suited to the scrum than the cricket field, we looked forward to a decisive partnership. This was not to be as Lye fell at 126, four short of his 50. Fortunately the skipper gave Williams the support he needed as they put on 103 in 90 minutes. Williams fell at 229 for a fine 73 in 100 minutes off 104 balls. It was still necessary for further building, if we were to reach the 300 plus game plan target. After Gibson's departure at 252, Mark Edwards and Rob Hutchings took the score past 300 before Hutchings fell for a very useful 30. The plan was to have a bowl at Suffolk before close of play and thanks to an excellent 42 from Edwards and 17 off 13 balls from Hards, including a reverse sweep, this was achieved as Gibson declared at 343 off 97 overs. The decision proved right as Andy Green sent back both openers as Suffolk finished the day at 15-2. Next day Russell Bryan marked his debut with a fine spell and Williams providing the catch for his first wicket. A fifth wicket partnership of 120 caused some minor palpitations, as a couple of catches were dropped and Rock played a very fine innings. Hutchings was injured whilst bowling and unfortunately did not play again, the second of a number of injuries that were to have a bearing on the season. David Court had been injured a week earlier and had been unable to travel and later casualties included Williams and Bryan. A direct run out by David Gibson swung the innings back with Green and Lye picking up wickets. An excellent spell from Alex Bailey was also telling and Suffolk were eventually all out in sixty-six overs 57 runs short. This secured the points for Devon who then batted again, Alldis departed in an identical manner to the first innings - same bowler, same fielder, same shot as both sides decided to call it a day at 75-2 as rain threatened and a long journey to Berkshire beckoned. An encouraging start.
Reading School provided the venue the next day and Gibson again called correctly and this time Alldis and Gamble put on 60. The Exeter School pairing of Cruft and Gamble took the score on to 129 with some very positive stroke play. Gamble's 117 minutes at the crease then ended and Cruft and Lye put on 39. Lye was demonstrating that his enforced lay off had not had any affect on his timing, as he started to clear the pavilion with five sixes off twelve balls. In tandem with Williams they put on 68 in 36 minutes. The game was being taken away from the home side and an early declaration looked probable. When Lye departed at 236 his innings had lasted 64 minutes and he had scored 66 off 54 balls. Williams was carrying on where he left off on Monday only to get out on an identical score. The side then lost it's momentum and wickets and the declaration target wes forgotten as the side were all out after 89 overs. This left Berkshire an awkward 55 minutes batting. The Williams/Bryan combination sent back one opener at 26 and what could have been a crucial catch was missed at fine leg as Berkshire finished the day at 44-1. The next day the hard hitting Hillman took up where he had left off but Green removed him and the night-watchman to leave Berkshire 81-3. Lye took his first wicket and the home side was 100-4. What followed was one of the strangest sessions of the season as after lunch Berkshire seemed only concerned with occupation of the crease as the score advanced slowly to 203 off 94 overs. Devon rotated the bowlers and bowled at a very good hourly rate but in the final context of the game this session had a very important bearing. Edwards eventually had the stubborn Fray caught behind and Devon were back in the game. Lye took another couple of wickets and the visitors were again dictating at 241-8. However a ninth wicket partnership of 37, and even worse, a tenth wicket partnership of 41 started the nerves jingling. Bryan was recalled and cartwheeled the centre stump out of the ground and Devon picked up another deserved win. They had bowled 124.2 overs and had tried to be positive throughout the game. Had runs been taken by the home side between lunch and tea, the result could have been very interesting. It was reassuring that the home side thought we had a very good squad and could go all the way - prophetic words. We had learnt during the week that it was crucial to be positive whilst both batting and in the field, we had a very good spirit but we dropped too many catches. A good week's work as we journeyed home through another seven counties and completed just short of 1000 miles in the week. The criticism of the navigation had fortunately subsided!
Our first home fixture clashed with the Under 17's quarter final against Glamorgan and we put on our one poor performance of the season. Hertfordshire were entertained at Axminster and the first reversal was when David Gibson lost the toss. The visitors had first use of an excellent batting track as Simon Hards sent back their opener in the twelfth over but then things went rather down hill. The most disturbing occurrence was the loss of Williams with a dislocated finger and he took no further part in the match. Indeed due to county calls and examinations, he took no further part in the season and his runs and attitude were undoubtedly missed. David Lye picked up a strain and our resources were severely stretched. Hertfordshire's David Lowe was enjoying himself as he scored an outstanding 163 out of the 391 for 9 the visitors amassed in 101 overs. Devon stuck to their task but Ian Gamble was the only bowler to have any real success with 5-123. Devon had to face one over before close of play as they prepared for their massive task to virtually score 400 the next day. Indeed the ten men only just reached half their target being dismissed for 204 in 86 overs. The opening partnership of Hards and Gamble put on 51 and only Alldis, Lye and the ever reliable and undefeated Alex Bailey got set but none of them went on to make a big score. Both sides had an opportunity of batting again but the result had enabled Hertfordshire to take over the top spot from us.
The rain robbed Devon of their first outright win at Braunton as Wiltshire were outplayed in all departments. Gibson reduced his success rate with the coin to 50% and was obviously better at calling than spinning but that had been proved at Braunton two years earlier! Wiltshire batted first and were bowled out in the eighty-second over for 166. Mark Edwards had the visitors in all sorts of problems with 7-59 off thirty overs. The Under 17 opening attack of Court and Bryan reduced Wiltshire to 32-2 and Edwards then took over. Devon seemed to get it's catching act together as eight catches in all were taken, including a vital one behind the stumps by the Under 16 keeper Phil Arnold making his debut. Devon scored at 3 an over for the hour they had to bat and were 60-0 at close of play. Tim Alldis fell quickly the next morning but most of the batsman played well but again no one batted on. This was to be a major disappointment throughout the season and a lesson that must be learnt by all of the Devon squads. Lye again score a quickfire 68 off 59 balls but it was Russell Bryan who really turned the knife with a thirty-eight ball fifty. Devon reached their target of 300 in the seventy-second over and gave Wiltshire the chance to bat again. They were reduced to 96-5 by close of play as rain reduced play by over an hour. This result took us back to the top of the league with one home game remaining.
United Services were our hosts for the crucial fixture against our near neighbours Cornwall. We lost Lye and Williams to the full County side who were playing in Wales and could not select the Under 17's who were due to play Surrey in the semi-finals later in the week. Lee Elmore, William Johnstone and James Boase all responded to their call up in a magnificent manner and their attitude was really first class. Gibson's spinning problems continued and Cornwall batted. Harris scored the third century against us but Edwards was again in good form taking another five wickets. Elmore picked up five catches and it was obvious that the pitch was conducive to spin. Gamble and Alldis passed 50 once again but it was John Cruft and Lee Elmore who played the major innings. Cruft was again in outstanding form, scoring 79 on a difficult wicket in a hundred minute stay at the crease. He was only out after a wayward throw in was deflected OFF the umpire to the bowler. Elmore's contribution was also important and he was undefeated on 35. Time was proving a crucial factor and the think tank decided to forego possible batting points to have another go at Cornwall to try and pick up some vital second innings points. As soon as Johnstone drove the four to take us past the Cornish score, Gibson declared to give his bowlers seventy minutes to pick up some wickets without conceding 75 runs. All afternoon Hertfordshire, our only rivals for the group, were in constant contact with the Cornwall coach to follow our progress but we decided to take no interest whatsoever in their progress. With Edwards, whose contribution during the season was immense, unwell it was left to the off spinning openers Gamble and Alldis to do the business. They reduced Cornwall to 63-6 in 23 overs with Alldis picking up 5-15 off twelve overs. Twenty points would it be enough? The writer then broke the scorers new mobile phone in trying to contact the group organiser, who by coincidence was managing the side playing Hertfordshire. It transpired that Hertfordshire had felt that as we had not picked up full batting points we were out of contention and they had stopped phoning the Cornish management team. Little did they know!! They had batted on past 400 to kill their game. When contact was eventually made, Gamble's quickness with figures quickly deduced that we had won the group by two points, a magnificent moment. The side had deserved their success.
Wellington College was the venue for the quarter final against Shropshire but the first day clashed with the Under 17's semi-final second day. The good news was that Lye was again available. The side experienced the rare treat of first being locked out of one of the country's top independent schools and then locked in!! Gibson's calling was back on form and Devon batted. Ian Gamble continued his remarkable form with the bat but it is to be hoped that in 1999 he will convert his scores into big hundreds. His batting has been outstanding for two seasons and his unique attitude was a major contributory factor in the side's success. Alex Bailey, the season's leading contender for the unsung hero title, scored an outstanding 85 (111 balls, 140 minutes, 8 fours)and skipper David Gibson and William Johnstone both passed fifty. The skipper broke off his innings to alert the recently arrived Under 17 scorer that I was lost somewhere between Guildford, London and Wellington College and could she contact me at once to navigate me in! Their eighth wicket partnership of 117 in 23 overs virtually killing the game off for Shropshire. Devon were all out for 372 in the ninety-seventh over but Shropshire avoided having to bat that evening as there was insufficient playing time left. The Under 17 members of the squad joined their team mates for an interesting barbecue that night. The next morning Simon Hards, Andy Green and David Lye reduced Shropshire to 31 for 4 but Prince and Whitney set about recovering the situation with a 154 partnership. Prince was the fourth player to take us for a hundred but kept chipping the bowlers in a gap between mid wicket and mid on much to the consternation of the Devon management team. This little problem was solved after a drinks break, with Cruft taking a catch in the gap! Lee Elmore was having one of those days behind the stumps, giving away no byes and picking up six catches, he might have had seven but collided with one of his close fielders in going for a difficult chance. Alex Bailey took 3 wickets and Under 16 player, Trevor Anning, one as Devon bowled Shropshire out for 207 in fifty-seven overs. Another great result, who was next?
It was time to travel the country again as we were paired with Nottinghamshire in a semi-final on a neutral ground in Nottinghamshire - Worksop College. Fortunately this did not clash with any Under 17 fixture although it did clash with a county match but Peter Roebuck kindly released David Lye on the understanding that his performance in the match would be taken into account when selecting the County side to play Shropshire in the MCC Trophy final at Lords on the following Wednesday. David Gibson kept up his away record and Devon batted. Gamble and Alldis put on 89 for the first wicket setting the tone for the rest of the day. Gamble won his own personal dual with Eddie Hemmings son, watched by the former, Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire, Sussex and England bowler. The attitude of the side was exceptional. Bailey failed for once and Gamble fell at 114. David Lye played the Devon innings of the season hitting 98 off 112 balls with 10 fours and a six, putting on 106 with John Cruft for the fourth wicket. His rehabilitation was complete, David Lye has been a truly outstanding cricketer throughout his youth career, playing numerous innings of the highest quality, taking vital wickets and fielding magnificently. His attitude, commitment and approach rubs off on the rest of the side and it has been one of the greatest pleasures to have been involved with a cricketer of such outstanding ability. It is to be hoped that his knee will allow him a first class career because he has the ability. It was sad that this innings, which helped win the game for Devon, did not earn David a place in the Devon side at Lords. Elmore scored a fine fifty (88 balls, 98 minuites, 1 six and 3 fours) and David Gibson again chipped in with vital runs. We were now playing straight one hundred over games and Devon were 352-8 at the end of their innings. The side had at least disproved the view of one of the Nottingham side who on hearing the result of the toss surmised that the game would be all over by tea! Would it be enough? The Devon opening bat Nick Gaywood was uncertain. He was moving in to the College that day ready to take up an appointment in the autumn and was just about to depart for Lords. That night the squad visited Headingley to watch the day/night War of the Roses match. They witnessed an outstanding Lancashire fielding performance to reinforce the difference in standard of the first class game but it inspired them to put on an remarkable fielding performance of their own the next day
The second day exemplified all that is good about this exceptional group of players, it was a day to remember for the rest of one's life. The captain dived full length at cover to stop a speeding drive that looked certain for the boundary and set the standard for the rest of the day. The Nottingham openers put on 75 appearing to be in little trouble before Edwards ran out Wakeling. A critical fifteen minute spell before lunch turned the game back in Devon's favour. The safe hands of Bailey removed the other opener and Alldis caught and bowled the dangerous Randell. Lunch was taken at 97-3. Chris Read joined us in the afternoon, his father had seen the Devon squad on SKY the night before and alerted Chris to our presence in his adopted county. Two colossal catches by Lye and Court kept up the pressure as Alldis carried on where he had left off against Cornwall. Gibson displayed his tactical acumen by ringing the changes but keeping faith with Alldis who always kept responding with a vital wicket. He finished with a deserved 5-84 off 24 overs and his bowling had been a revelation. The rain came at 3.42 with Devon in complete control having restricted Nottinghamshire to 213-7 after 69 overs. The match was terminated in Devon's favour, all agreed that the game had been won by the better side. There were two disappointments one - Bryan's injury in an unsuccessful attempt at a catch and, as Lye put it the disappointment of not enjoying an outright win out on the field as a team - a very pertinent comment from a very astute character. The Bryan injury was to have long term implications at both Under 19 and Under 17 level. The game was best summed up by the Nottinghamshire coach when he said that Devon's desire to win and compete was far superior to their own, so very true. The side stayed an extra night at the College and travelled down to Lord's the next day in the hope of watching Lye help Devon beat Shropshire in the MCC final. They were warmly welcomed by the County Club and visited the Lords pavilion, saw the County win but unfortunately Lye's total unselfishness in playing at Nottingham had in fact jeopardised his place in the county squad, as he lost his place to Kevin Barrett who had scored a ninety against Cornwall. A sad blow to all.
From Lords the side travelled to Elstree for the final against Hampshire at the attractive MCC ground Shenley Park. Gibson made it five out of eight and the omens were good. For once the openers failed as Alldis left at 8. Gamble and Bailey put on 69 for the second wicket but both fell at 77. David Lye was in typical mode but for the second successive match took on a slow bowler to hit him over the top, and for the second time in the week was caught at long off, he had died by the sword which in the circumstances was unfortunate! John Cruft continued in his unassuming way, he had made the number five spot his own with a number of outstanding performances but he too was caught in the outfield when well set. Gibson and Elmore made useful contributions but it was left to Bryan and Court to put on 38 for the last wicket to make the score vaguely respectable as the side were all out for 259 in the ninety-ninth over. It was vital that the side took a wicket or two before close of play but sadly one did not materialise as Hampshire batted sensibly to end on 42-0 off fourteen overs. We had our final meal together and planned to make it as difficult as possible for Hampshire to score the two and half an over needed. Bryan suffered a recurrence of his injury in the warm up and was unable to take part in the remainder of the match. He was sent off to Lords for an appointment with their physiotherapist and the bad news was that rest was the only answer and he would not be able to bowl in the Under 17 final. Hampshire batted well but took 91 overs to reach their target, due to excellent fielding by Devon, who stuck to their task until the final ball was bowled, as the following extract from the official report of the game reveals:-
Hard as Devon tried they were unable to achieve further success but to their credit they bowled and fielded like tigers and it took Hampshire nearly 91 overs to score the required runs.
A sense of anti-climax, not helped by John Carr indicating at the presentation that we had reached the final against the odds, some tears from the Manager who felt for his players who had given their all in travelling hundreds of miles and visiting new counties only to lose at the final hurdle. An emotional end of an era with flowers for the ladies and thanks from the captain and team.
This was a truly remarkable season and, although winning is not meant to be the most important element, this was one competition that I felt the side deserved to win. Their achievement was immense, their attitude, commitment, spirit and approach was faultless. The captain personified it all. He was uncertain at the first match whether he would get into the team let alone captain it, I am afraid that this had been a little kidology on my behalf but the scorer had already determined that he would lead the side. However he lead the side from the front, set an example that the rest had to follow, cared for his players, batted well, ran well and fielded out of his skin. He had luck on his side, won vital tosses, made the right changes at the right time. The Perfect Captain - if only he had spotted the chip shot at Wellington College!!
Off the field this season was a total team effort. It was planned that Hiley Edwards would manage the Under 19's in 1998 but his illness put a stop to this proposal. He and Sue were however very much involved throughout the season at both Under 17 and 19 level. He quickly filled the void when the appointed assistant manager withdrew a couple of days before we were due to depart to Suffolk and they met up with us at Berkshire. Sue quickly took on the laundry and for the rest of the season they were an integral part of the team The clash with Under 17 matches created problems but, with the additional help of Jim Alldis and Marilyn Lye, the problems were overcome. This pairing lead the side to Wellington College, although we are not sure that Mrs Lye fully appreciated the communal life style of one of the country's most famous boys schools or Jim, the Language School's farewell party. All four played a very important and vital part in the side's success and the scorer and I are particularly thankful for their help.
A number of players filled the difficult twelfth man role and in particular I would like to thank James Gibson, who for one so young, fielded exceptional well when called upon. We were as normal exceptionally well looked after by the Devon club's who hosted matches and we would express our most sincere thanks to Axminster, Braunton and United Services Cricket Clubs. The Umpires were of the highest standard and we record our annual thanks to Bob Elliott and the Devon Cricket Umpires Society. Funding from the ECB, Cricket Foundation and the County Club made the games possible but somewhat strangely the further you progress in a competition the more the funding decreases. The Devon Cricket Board came to our rescue by funding the season's shortfall- a very generous gesture.
So ends a truly unforgettable season, my final thanks go to an exceptional group of players and to the scorer, whose navigation got better and choice of captain was dead right.!
The Peter Atkinson Young Cricketer of the Year Trophy was awarded to captain David Gibson on behalf of the entire squad for his outstanding leadership of an exceptional squad of players.