Disability Squad 2023 End of Season report - Chris Edwards BEM
This year was the first year we have gone with 2 Cheshire S9s Squads. The idea was to make sure every member of the squad got a lot of game time throughout the season. This proved to be a success as this also gave opportunity to players of all abilities to come together and work as a team to progress their cricket skills and game awareness. We spilt the teams into senior and junior to help players play alongside players around or of similar age bracket. With pre-season friendlies washed out due to weather, the season started with both Cheshire S9 teams playing their first league game against each other with Leopards coming out on top. Below is a run-down of each Super 9s squad's season.
Cougars Played 7 Won 5 lost, 2.
The Cougars squad had a fantastic season bringing the County Squad's first trophy in 13 years, last time being the D40 squad in 2010. This team was the senior open age squad who gelled well throughout the season. Stand out performances from all players throughout seeing 3 players achieve their maiden 50s for Cheshire and their firsts in cricket. They were Stephen Redfern, Finley Ellis and Alex Marsden and special mention to Johnny Gately who got his best score ever of 39 not out v Yorkshire at home to help win a thrilling game.
Also, a handful of players making their debut season, Sophie Coyne and Harry Nugent have added fantastic value to the squad as players both improving each game they played.
Cheshire Cougars were formed this season alongside an u18s team and played in the Regional North Division. We had a structured Winter training program to develop fitness, skills and tactical awareness. The team was a mixture of mostly over 18 experienced and inexperienced cricketers, some only playing disability cricket for the first time.
The squad of 19 came together and represented their county with distinction showing great attitude, determination, ability and skill. The team spirit and togetherness were exemplary.
We played 6 games against Yorkshire, Lancashire, North Wales and Cheshire Leopards(u18s). Despite losing our first game we went on to win 4 out of 6 games in some close matches with some excellent individual performances with the bat and ball, resulting in our finishing 2nd behind North Wales by a narrow points margin.
In the resulting play off final Cheshire Cougars beat North Wales away at Wrexham convincingly by knocking off their total for the loss of no wickets in 20 overs, a very convincing and deserved victory.
It was very heartening to see all the effort and determination culminate in the first trophy for 13 years and more importantly see increased participation in the sport. We aim to further develop the squad over the coming Winter and see the individuals’ confidence grow on and off the field.
A massive thank you to Martin Othick Head coach for the Cougars for the dedication and time he put into the team this year. Also, a big thank you to Angela Smith for scoring each match throughout the season. Finally a massive thank you to Pam Edwards, for filling in as team manager during games that clashed with other matches that were happening on the same day.
Leopards Played 6 won 4 lost 2.
Leopards also had a very successful season, just missing out on the regional play off final by 4 points. This team was made up of mostly of U18s led by Alex Marsden who captained fantastically well throughout the season. There were some great individual performances throughout the season which is hard to single anyone out however special mentions to Jamie O’Grady who continues to improve with each game, also both Sam Denn and Harry Armstrong who came in halfway throughout the season both shining with both bat and ball and sometimes with the wicket keeping gloves. Finally, Dylan Buckley who has been fantastic contributing with wickets and runs and his energy in the field in his first season for the team and has also done well for his local club Warrington taking important wickets for them as well. Corban Jones, playing in his first season for the county side seeing him play in a hardball game and growing with confidence in every match as a player and a person. Corban contributed well with the bat, scoring vital runs and taking wickets and catches for the team. Mikey for the way he has come on as a player who is prepared to keep going with the keeping when asked and throws himself into any challenge given.
Over 6 games against teams from Lancashire, North Wales, Yorkshire and our very own Cheshire Cougars, we saw really competitive games and some fine individual performances with both bat and ball. It was great to see how the young players grew in confidence through the season. Their efforts resulted in a third, place finish, close behind North Wales and the Cheshire Cougars. Some of the players were playing disability cricket for the very first time, so the attitude, effort and skills shown were great to see.
A massive thank you to all parents and family members who helped with the scoring throughout the year. Also, to George for his time and dedication to coaching the team and progressing each of the players who were involved this year. We aim to continue the teams progress through the winter with indoor training, helping to build the skills and further the confidence of the players ready for next season.
D40 Hardball Squad Played 7 Won 0 lost 4 abandoned/cancelled 3.
This Season for the D40 squad has been nothing short of disappointing with high hopes of this squad progressing in this league. With both Lancashire pre-season match abandoned halfway through the match and both Shropshire matches rained off at start and end of season and close defeats to both Derbyshire at home and Wales away, we lost games at key moments and dropped too many catches in matches that were close and not reading game situations quick enough to get over the line. The team had to change each game with injuries and illnesses along with international/DPL representative matches meaning we were without 2 of our international players for most of the season which clashed with county Division 2 North fixtures meaning ourselves and other teams in the division were not putting out full strength teams to be competitive. Standout performances were Mark O’Brian with 2 half centuries, Max Griffin with the gloves and with the bat at the top of the order with a fine 75 retired v Wales. Finley Ellis showed great promise with the ball and continues to get better each game, Alexa Harrison in the field was as usual fantastic not letting anything phase her with some excellence diving stops. Stephen Redfern, also stepped in with the ball on occasions bowling well. It was also good to see Dom Develing who captained the team alongside Matt O’Connell in the absents of Jack Perry, Zagham Farhan, and Josh Brown play in their first full season of D40 cricket. Also, Nathan Gee coming in for the final few games who is a fantastic addition to our squad.
A lot of hard work needed this winter to make some progress, but I firmly believe that this year was a steep learning curve of what we need to do to progress further.
In terms of the Disability Squads going into 2024, we are going to maintain 2 Super 9 teams with one D40 Hardball, however we are going to add a D40 hardball Development team into the set up who will play local Cheshire based club sides in 2024 helping the younger and fringe players to develop in a senior hardball environment with no pressure of winning or losing.
Chris Edwards BEM - Sept 2023