Belhus Cricket Club - Annual Review 2020 2

              2020                      Review                    2020            
The global pandemic resulting from the Covid-19 crisis curtailed recreational cricket in 2020.  Eventually restrictions were lifted, and our first match was played on 12th July.  And a re-worked Shepherd Neame Essex League fixture list and temporary divisions meant that league cricket could start on 18th July.  But matches were played under very different circumstances - social distancing measures, regular hand sanitising, no teas and the closure of dressing rooms and clubhouses.  Despite the restrictions, a good number of our playing members made themselves available and we were able to field four Saturday SNEL XIs.  And we managed to squeeze in a total of 75 league, friendly and youth tour matches during the 11-week season.

It was announced in July that Shepherd Neame (the country's oldest brewer) would termInate its sponsorship of the ECB Accredited Essex League at the end of 2020, having generously supported the league for two decades.  And it was also announced that from January 2021, Hamro Plc would be the new sponsor of the league - to be known as the Hamro Foundation Essex League.

Indoor Champions
The Club continued to display its skills in the six-a-side indoor format as we were crowned Essex Indoor Champions 2020 after hard-fought victories over Harlow CC in the Semi-Final and Upminster CC in the Final.  But in the Regional Finals of the ECB's National Indoor Trophy at the Kent CCC Indoor Academy in Canterbury, we were soundly beaten by Broadstairs CC, thus failing to progress to Lord's where we lifted the National title in 2016.  In the meantime, our Under 16s played magnificently against some very strong opposition to be crowned SECPG Champions 2020.

Essex Indoor Champions 2020 (February)
Left to right: Dan Dreher, Max Osborne, Joe Joyce, Dan Norris, Connor Day, Ryan Wells

Under 16s SECPG Indoor Champions 2020 (February)

Our Bowlers
It was pleasing to see that our younger bowlers stole the limelight in the list of leading wicket-takers - all playing at a higher level than they had previously encountered and showing much future promise.
Tyler Robertson - 25 wickets @ an average of 20.53

Henry Overy 22 @ 29.91
Sammy Fairweather - 21 @ 20.67
Charlotte Waters - 20 @ 25.65
Andrew Williams registered the season's best bowling figures (5 for 26 in the 2nd XI's SNEL match against Leigh-on-Sea CC on 5th September), and a number of other bowlers collected 4-wickets-in-an-innings - the best being by Tilly Barnett with her 4 for 7 for the Under 13s in their impressive 5-wicket win over Orsett CC on 18th August.

Our Batsmen
With concentration levels being difficult to maintain due to the frequent hand-sanitising requirement after every 6 overs, some of our batsmen performed extremely well in the circumstances.  The season's leading run-scorers were:
Gus Philpot - 1,099 runs at and average of 54.95
Jack Plane - 542 @ 38.71
Rob Healy - 511 @ 22.27
Alex Blake - 465 @ 24.47
Adam Dudmish - 404 @ 36.67

Four centuries were recorded - Gus Philpot (121* and 100), Jack Plane (111) and Adam Dudmish (110).  And to crown a highly successful personal season, Gus Philpot became the Club's Youngest Batsman to Score a Century - at 13 years 57 days - in the match against Mayfield CC on 20th September: well batted Gus.  Five batsmen registered scores in the 90s - Brian Edwards (98*), Adam Dudmish (95), Zak Wilson (94), Marc Baker (92) and Jack Plane (91).

The 99 Club
Until this season, just five batsmen in the Club's history had been agonisingly dismissed on 99 - David Webb (1981), Martin Guilbert (2007), Joe Joyce (2013), Charlie Lewis (2013) and Danny Joyce (2018).  Then on 5th September, in the 2nd XI's SNEL match against Leigh-on-Sea CC, opener Saiful Islam joined this elite 99 Club when he too fell one short of his century.  Hard luck all.

The Youth Tour
It really was a phenomenal organisational effort to arrange yet another youth tour to Norfolk (our 16th youth tour since our very first venture to Sussex in 1977) in the most difficult of circumstances.  Of course, the coronavirus restrictions were observed and we are extremely grateful to our hosts - Ashmanhaugh & Barton Wanderers CC, Acle CC, Bradfield CC and Lowestoft CC - for kindly entertaining our 30+ party of players, coaches, managers and supporters.

Our Youth Tour Squad

Naturally our players, officials and supporters were disappointed not to have been able to enjoy the usual full season of fixtures in this, the Club's 60th Anniversary.  Let us hope that cricket as we know and love it can return to normal in 2021.