Devon Under 16s
1999 Season's Report
Played 10 Won 3 Lost 3 Abandoned 3 Cancelled 1
v MILLFORD SCHOOL at Axminster C.C. – Match Abandoned
MILLFORD SCHOOL 208-9 (T.Wright 4-31, E.Buckland 3-24)
DEVON 163-6 (T.Beer 37, R.Foan 64)
v HABERDASHERS ASKE SCHOOL at Axminster C.C. – Devon won by 50 runs
DEVON 217-8 (T.Beer 29, S.Edmonds 35, R.Foan 46, T.Wright 27, J.Dark 37)
HABERDASHERS 167-9 (G.Larcombe 3-33)
v CORNWALL at Tavistock C.C. - Devon won by 5 runs
DEVON 140 all out (T.Wright 60)
CORNWALL 135 all out (E.Buckland 4-25)
v DORSET at Sandford C.C. – Devon lost by 41 runs
DEVON 227 all out (T.Beer 28, J.Shephard 39)
v ISLE OF WIGHT at Exmouth C.C. – Match Abandoned
DEVON 112-2 (T.Beer 26*, S.Edmonds 42)
THE ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL
v ESSEX at Ventor C.C. - Devon lost by 7 wickets
DEVON 139-9 (T.Beer 33, J.Gibson 42)
v SHROPSHIRE at Newport C.C. Match Cancelled
v BERKSHIRE at Brading C.C – Match Abandoned
BERKSHIRE 150-9 (R.Foan 3-42)
v ISLE OF WIGHT at Braiding C.C. - Devon won by 1 wickets
ISLE OF WIGHT 97 all out (R.Foan 4-20, S.Edmonds 3-12)
DEVON 98-8 (D.Lobb 37)
v KENT at G.K.N./ Seaclose - Devon lost by 15 runs
KENT 173-7 (R.Foan 3-36)
DEVON 158-8 (S.Edmonds 26, J.Shephard 28*)
THE 1999 SQUAD
S.Edmonds (Captain); R.Foan (Vice Captain); C.Barron; T.Beer; N.Bettis; E.Buckland; A.Codling; J.Dark; J Gibson; J.Higgs; I.Jack; C.Lanyon; G.Larcombe; D.Lobb; J.Shephard; D.Waistell; T.Wright.
For the first time in my involvement with the under 16 squad I considered that the side actually under performed, for on paper they were a far superior side than their results suggest. Unfortunately cricket is not played on paper and in view of the fact that Dorset, one of our group opponents, went on to win the national under 16 competition says much. Man for man Dorset was not a superior side to Devon but as a unit they were miles ahead. This is a most disappointing criticism for the strength of Devon sides in the past has been their unity, which has often overcome adversity. If there is one lesson that must be learnt, if the team is to progress, it is that we will have to be a top team both on and off the field. The averages also give a clear indication as to why the side was not more successful – no regular batsman had an average of over 27; an individual top score of 64; a highest partnership of only 76; only four other partnerships over 50; the leading wicket taker took only 15 wickets; only one bowler had an average of under 15. Not good statistics although the weather did have an important bearing on the season and seriously restricted opportunities and the bonding time in the Isle of Wight was severely affected. It is essential that the side becomes a team in 2000 and individuals take on greater responsibilities and partnerships are formed both on and off the field. Seven members of the squad have experienced two-day cricket this year and in general their performances were better at the older age level and this bodes well for next year, provided they apply the same application in their own age group.
The season started with a rain-effected game against Millfield that was interestingly poised with Devon needing 45 runs with 4 wickets in hand and thirteen overs remaining. Tom Wright and Edward Buckland bowled well and the fielding was reasonable but our opponents were served up a regular supply of four-balls to take off the pressure. Tom Beer batted sensibly and followed the game plan until he played a rash shot. Richard Foan batted very well for his 64 taking 108 minutes facing 82 balls and Daniel Lobb was looking in good form when the rain became too hard for play to continue.
Our second game was the traditional one against Haberdashers Askes’ School and we completed only our second win in six. On winning the toss Devon batted and scored at a very respectable 4.34 an over. Tom Beer obeyed instructions and played another anchoring innings, featuring in a second wicket partnership of 60 with Steven Edmonds, who took 49 balls to reach his 35, and a third wicket partnership of 32 with Richard Foan, who took 61 balls for his 46. Tom Wright and James Dark played useful innings in the final total. It was not until our opponents eighth and ninth partnerships that the School side achieved stands of over 20 as Devon bowled and fielded very well. Axminster’s Gary Larcombe made a useful debut on his home ground taking 3-33 off his twelve overs of off spin. A reasonable performance.
In our first county match against Cornwall we batted abysmally, being bowled out in 36 of our 60 overs, sin of sin in not batting the full quota. Only Tom Wright and James Dark batted to a reasonable standard but both got out when set. Seven scores under 10 including four ducks is just not acceptable and showed a total lack of application. However the side more than made up for this mediocre performance in the field with an outstanding performance of character and resolution as Cornwall was bowled out five runs short of their target with just under four overs to spare. Edward Buckland started the collapse and in all took four wickets and also completed the match with an amazing direct throw from fine leg that ran out the last batsman. The side dug very deep to get out of jail but such performances are difficult to sustain and runs had to be the future priority. There were also signs that the side was complacent in some respects, which is not an acceptable trait for Devon sides.
The game against Dorset was one of the most disappointing with which I have been involved at county level. The disappointment was simply that Dorset displayed all the characteristics, qualities and traits that are normally associated with Devon sides. They were a very tight unit, who played for each other, supported, gave their best and never stopped trying. It was a very sobering experience watching another county put in such an effective performance with what had been the Devon ethos. It was not surprising that Dorset went on to win the national title for had Devon demonstrated these qualities they could have gone on to win the competition. A most frustrating day and I left the ground feeling I had failed to achieve the right balance in the squad to achieve the team spirit needed. Dorset started very slowly but built upon a good base of 100-2 off 36 overs. Their final score of 268-8 off 60 overs showed what can be achieved by sensible batting with wickets in hand. Our field settings and general fielding did not help and to go for 7 an over for 24 overs was not good cricket and indeed for the last 10 the side went for 9 an over – very poor cricket. Faced with a target of virtually four and a half an over Devon were never in contention despite a solid start from Beer and Foan. It was not until the game was lost at 159-7 off 45 that Devon showed any fight and it was by two players who had not been selected for the game the next day. James Shephard batted with some gusto with Jon Higgs putting on 49 for the eighth wicket. Shepherd then foolishly ran himself out for 39 but gave some real food for thought in selecting future squads. Higgs then battled on but the side were all out 41 runs short with four overs unused. It was evident that much work would be needed if the side were to compete at the required standard in the future.
The next day at Exmouth against the Isle of Wight rain had an early say as after 27 overs the game was abandoned after Foan, Beer and Edmonds batted well against an average attack. This brought to an end our involvement in the county competition for which naïvely I had had such great expectations. The lesson learnt was that attitude is as important, if not more important, than ability. If this aspect can be improved, there is no reason why the side will not develop.
The Isle of Wight Festival was a total disappointment purely because rain ruined two of the five matches and did not allow the side to demonstrate the qualities that were being sought. Despite this, much was learnt in connection with the players, which will be useful in 2000. Our batting let us down against a good Essex side who went on to win the tournament. Our openers were confronted with a first rate opening attack and dug in and batted sensible. The opening partnership was an area which had caused concern and it was decided to employ the under 17 pairing by moving Foan up the order at the expense of the middle order. On this occasion Foan got frustrated having done the hard work and on being confronted by a good pair of spinners gave a catch. Edmonds, Wright and Lobb went cheaply to leave Devon 50-4 after 29 overs. Tom Beer was however in majestic form and, when the county under 15 skipper James Gibson joined him, the pair took the initiative. Beer played one of the shots of the season when he put Mahmood into the marquee. Gibson joined in with an uninhibited 42 hitting five fours and two sixes. Beer who looked as if he would be fulfilling instructions to the letter by batting through the overs then sadly lost the plot and was caught. Ian Jack batted sensible but Devon were 139-9 at the end of the 50 overs. Essex was an excellent bowling side but our middle order did not bat well. Our opponents reached their target in 42 overs with seven wickets in hand.
Tuesday was a complete wash out with visits to the bowling alley and cinema. On Wednesday Devon was in the driving seat against Berkshire putting on a fine fielding and bowling performance. Berkshire won the toss and batted and scored at three an over. Foan bowled well to pick up 3-42 and Buckland 2-31. Lobb took two good stumpings and threw out a batsman to complete a good performance. Beer and Foan took the score to 40 off thirteen overs being in complete control when the heavens opened.
The one victory of the week was a closely contested game against the hosts under 17 side. The Isle of Wight was bowled out for 97 in 49.5 overs with Edmonds taking 3-12 off eight and Gibson 2-9 off 5. Devon got home thanks to a remarkable innings from Daniel Lobb, who held the innings together batting for 129 balls in a 126-minute stay at the crease. A top performance showing tremendous character in very difficult circumstances. His innings of 37 was an outstanding knock with Edmonds the only other batsman to reach double figures. Jack and Buckland saw the team home with three balls and one wicket left. A fine performance.
In the final game the side missed out on a win against Kent through lack of batting experience under pressure. Foan picked up another three wickets as Kent were 173-7 off 40 overs. The top four Beer, Foan, Edmonds and Wright all passed 20 but not one batted on. At 116 for 5 after 31 overs Devon was interestingly placed with 57 runs needed off 54 balls. Sadly 36 subsequent balls were dot balls and despite an undefeated 28 from Shephard off 41 balls (3 fours and a six) the side did not show the required maturity to push the ball around and were 15 runs short with 2 wickets in hand. The batting showed a general lack of awareness in that the top order did not bat on and the later batsman did not utilise the number of balls available to them.
The season was always going to be a learning process and the weather inhibited the side’s preparation but it is hoped that the squad will now be aware of what ingredients will be required next season. It will be essential that these ingredients are present from the very first ball. Practice and fitness are also important elements of successful sides and the squad will be expected to be fitter in 2000 and have put in more practice than they did in 1999, as the general standard of both batting and bowling was not good enough. Too many players under performed, indeed it would not be harsh to say that only perhaps three or four players played to their true potential. We will need a marked improvement in every conceivable area if we are to reach the standard required by Devon.
Our host clubs Axminster, Tavistock, Sandford and Exmouth were their usual outstanding selves and proved once again that our clubs are as good as any. The umpires provided by the Devon Society under Bob Elliott were impartial and of a high standard. Lynne Edmonds assisted with the scoring along with the assistant manager and both are high quality scorers with the latter dabbling with a laptop scoring system. Monty Thorns accompanied us again to the Isle of Wight and only let the side down once when he fell asleep in Starwars. For the second year Len and Lynne Edmonds came away with the Isle of Wight squad and again played a very important role but the innovation of the year was the introduction of David Gibson as coach. His impact was immediate and he made a marked impression on the side. His presence made my life much easier and the standard of our warm ups and cool downs was the highest. His work with the squad after the defeat against Essex was quality and it is a tribute to the players’ attitude that they responded in the way they did. He is preparing a fitness programme for next season, to which the squad will adhere. My thanks to them all and the County Club for their financial contribution to top up the Cricket Foundation monies.
The Cecil Wensley Player of the Year Cup was awarded to Richard Foan for his outstanding all round performances throughout the season.