Acorns

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Alvanley Acorns play in Division 7 of the C&DMCL. The team is replacing the Under 18s. Home games are on Tuesday evenings. Captain is Graham Aveyard. The team is aimed at providing competitive cricket for 15 to 18 year  olds……with a few oldies thrown in!

Newsfeed 2014

19/11/14 – decision made not to run the Acorns team in 2015

29/08/14 – Graham’s end of year essay….

Alvanley Acorns end of season report 2014

A slightly disappointing end to the season where at times we struggled for numbers should take nothing away from fine performances most notably from our youngsters earlier in the season.

Five wins, could easily have been six made quite an impression on the league table until the deductions for cancellations put us back down to 4th place. Wins against all the teams around and below us and one of only two against the joint champions Bunbury serve to demonstrate the progress we’ve made since last year’s initial forays into Senior Midweek league cricket.

The season started positively against Bridge Inn B with a record 1st wicket stand of 99 from Ben A (51) and Joe (52) and a narrow loss on the final over’s run chase. No such mistakes were allowed in the reverse fixture with Charlie Fletcher providing a significant contribution of 46 runs from a total of 113 – 7. Tight bowling and great fielding performance, Dave Summers taking 3 catches, supporting the bowlers, Ben Russell (2-7) and David Bergstrand (3-14) blowing the opposition away for 67.

Our first game v Bunbury was at home and we surprised them bowling out a side with a number of 1st and 2nd team players for just 99, bowlers Max Tonge (2-14) and Raphe Lobley making a debut with 3 – 18 doing most of the damage. A steady second wicket partnership of 43 between Ben A (20) and Arthur (27) put us on the road to a win, which wasn’t without its challenges, however 19 from Charlie Fletcher, 11 from Sam Chapman made sure the target was achievable for Raphe Lobley to knock off the winning run with an over to spare.

The first of a series of high scoring games followed away vs Oak Tree Outlaws from Bersham, batting first the Acorns set what seemed to be a challenging total of 166-4 with contributions from Chris Fletcher (24) sawn off by an above waist fast full toss, (umpiring lessons required), Arthur 27, Sam Pode 33, setting up what would become the Joe Hornby trademark brutal batting attack of 45 not out comprising of 2 sixes and seven fours in next to no time. The smaller boundary proved difficult to protect (although jungle warfare provided Jeremy Brummitt with three extra net balls) and the target was finally reached in 19 overs, however the game marked the dawn of the new 13 yr old bowling superstar that is Tom Bailes, who amid the carnage bowled 4-0-17-1 and established himself as a reliable and consistent off spin bowler at Senior level. There’s certainly a lot more of Tom to come.

The next high scoring match presented the team with a new problem to overcome, that of chasing a big score. With Chester Tavern setting us 164 to beat, largely due to 110* for S Johnson, their batting performance was mature and controlled. Once again Ben A led from the front opening the batting with 42, before being replaced as the lynch pin of the innings by the ever present Joe Hornby and another brutal 43*. Cameos from Charlie Fletcher (25), G Aveyard (19) and Raphe (14) along the way contributed to Acorns cruising home again with an over to spare.

The same team in the reverse fixture in the next game provided some degree of concern, principally whether we could control the centurion from the previous match. We should have held no fear, when we nearly provided our own with Ben Aveyard (94) batting from start to (nearly) the finish running himself out attempting to take the last ball on strike for the chance of his first ton. The only other contributions of note were 31 from Charlie Fletcher showing Dave Summers where the middle is on his bat, and a share of a stand of 58 between Ben and Phil Rose (3) in 38 balls. Ben accelerating from 31no after 12.1 over’s to 94 after 19.4. The threat from centurion was thwarted in the second innings, restricting him to 33 when Ben Russell took his wicket, one of 2-22, with Raphe again taking three’fer 19 off his four over’s, limiting the reply to just 88ao.

The trip to Bunbury, on the way home from a District U15 match for 4 of the team as a harsh reality check, with Bunbury in no mood to allow a repeat of our surprise attack at home in the early season. A senior and experience team were fielded, which when combined with an immature batting performance provided a simple 8 wicket win for Bunbury with only Chris Fletchers 39no and Ben Russell’s two wickets (2-10) providing any cause for comfort.

A last hurrah against Bridge Inn at home chasing 106-4 Jack Bailes (9) in his unaccustomed position opening the batting giving us the start we needed with a watchful Joe Hornby who again led the team all the way home with 54no. In the process Joe shared important stands with Lewis Neal (19) who kept the ship steady which in turn itself permitted a season best 2nd wicket partnership with Will Fletcher (personal HS of 20no) to bring the ship home.

Lastly a further game v Bunbury this time at home, went much the same way as the previous, with Acorns set a daunting 154-7 with 2 wickets each to Joe and Rob Hornby and one each to Alex Taylor, Raphe and Charlie F; before being bowled out for just 69 where only Charlie Fletcher made any impression with 20 runs.

Whilst last year opposition were impressed by the quality of our younger player, for their potential, this year the potential is starting to be realised with some mature performances. Setting and chasing scores of over 160 have been shown to be quite possible without particular panic or tension even in the midst of the frantic T20 format. Our bowlers continue to provide the foil to the strong batting unit with newcomer Raphe Lobley a significant addition; however the maturity of performances from Tom Bailes would be my personal pick showing the progress some of our youngsters can make within our junior ranks. Batting has been strong with big innings from regular opener Ben Aveyard and Joe Hornby sharing opening with Ben early in the season before becoming the aggressive middle order batsman putting teams to the sword in the latter overs.

All in all a very pleasing season and my sincere thanks to everyone taking part in the games, not just those receiving a mention above, some turning out at short notice to ensure we could turn out a full team. At those times you were just as important to the team’s performance as the players whose performances get a mention as without you there would have been no team. I hope you all enjoyed the experience and get something out of it and it furthers your development.

Thanks for an enjoyable season,

Graham

Final stats for 2014 season

14 stats Acorns pic

02/07/2014 Chester Tavern (Away)

A similarly mature team performance this time setting the target. A fine knock of 94 for Ben Aveyard only ending running himself out of the last but one ball in an attempted bye to the keeper to take strike off the last ball and try to score the six required for his first ton. Supported manfully by Arthur (10), Charlie (31 from 15) and a season best 6th wicket partnership with Phil Rose of 58 (well run Phil). 170 was always going to be a winning total if we could contain the one man boundary threat of Johnson. Accurate bowling from Summers, Max (1-15, taking the wicket of opener Scott in the process) and Ben Russell created the pressure which eventually told with Ben taking the threatening Johnsons wicket (bowled) in about the 10th over with him on just 33. After that a procession of wickets to Ben Russell (2-22), Raphe Lobley (3-19) and Summers (1-19) tidied up the tail. Comedy moment provided by Smith, hit in the box, that had readjusted itself, therefore providing no protection to the vital parts, swung his bat round to demolish his own wickets. He was nearly sick halfway to the pavilion

The Acorns grow stronger, light evenings and Monster Energy seems to be the key ingredients to turn the saplings onto strong units that can support themselves. The future’s bright even if not orange.

2014 Acorns stats

17/06/14 Chester Taverners (Home)

Set a big total to chase of 165, largely down to the 110 Not Out of Steve Johnson (CT) the Acorns set off in the pursuit of this challenging total. I was asked during one game last year whether we should just ‘go’ for a similar total, either winning or perishing in the attempt. My advice then, as now was to get ‘in’, play properly and if we didn’t win we didn’t win. I’d rather 120 -4 giving ourselves at least an outside chance of getting to the total than just go guns blazing and all out for 48. A year ago we were younger, not as mentally strong, not as confident in our ability and with slightly less ‘muscle’. It isn’t surprising in such situations we didn’t get above 75.

This game (and that of the game v Bunbury) show how far we have come in such a short space of time. My advice this time, 3 singles in an over, a dot, a two and a four ball was more than was needed. We started well and never looked like not getting the runs. A fine win and batting performances of Ben, Charlie and Joe Hornby. Bowlers cope well when they came under extreme pressure of one man who scored the majority of their runs, and we did it with a team performance.

04/06/14 – An all-time high in the level of performance of the Acorns, shorn of the presence of their inspirational leader; (no rephrase that, whose average age dramatically was reduced by the absence of notional captain G Aveyard due to old age and injury), left a stunned Bunbury side leaving Frodsham Road hopefully with a good deal more respect for this young team.

Bunbury significantly bolstered by first team performers batted first with the dangerous Bulow being sent back early as a result of fine bowling from Max and the first of two catches for debutant Lobley. The scoreboard was controlled by a frugal spell from Max (4-0-13-2) and Charlie (4-0-17-0). First change brought back the returning Rob Hornby with his stifling spell of spin bowling (4-0-21-1) and Aaron Bolster (3-0-17-0) backed up by tenacious fielding from the young (and slightly older) team resulting in one run out and close calls for several more. The breaks were well and truly off by the time Raphe Lobley was summoned for the final three overs from the road end with a mixture of F&G and inspirational keeping from D Summers resulting in 3 stumping’s in the final overs (3-0-18-3) which were shared with a rejuvenated Joe Hornby bowling well within himself using line and length rather than raw pace for 2-0-5-1 to keep the Bunbury team down to a total of 99 ao.

Whilst 100 in midweek should be eminently gettable this has to be seen in context of the hostile opening spells from first team opening bowler Livingstone, (already with a Pfeiffer this year), and Lewis, with first Ben Aveyard (20) and Joe Hornby (3), then Aveyard and Arthur Brummitt (27) surviving a barrage of fast and at times quite short deliveries intended to unsettle the young batsmen. Back up bowling didn’t lack experience with 1st and second team bowlers backing up the openers. The second wicket pair of 15 year olds performed particularly creditably to start to take the game away from Bunbury, and they knew it. By 10 overs with 50 on the board and just 2 wickets down the platform was set (Bunbury being 44-4 at the same stage), with cameo’s to come from Sam Chapman showing a return of timing and aggression in his batting (11), who provided a mature guiding hand to the youngsters throughout the match before being unceremoniously run out by Charlie Fletcher who’s normal aggression resulted in 19 from 17 (including just one single run, the rest being boundaries). Max and Summers keeping the board ticking over at a crucial point in the chase before Raphe and Rob Hornby knocked off the required 6 runs in the 19th over.

A SPLENDID team performance with no one being required to carry the rest of the team, contributions all round, you should all feel a level of personal satisfaction about yours and the team’s performance, and with players to return from exams or college we should be able to draw on this experience to move forward with positive intent to achieve better results over the coming games. #upthealv

15/05/14 – v Bridge Inn B….again. 

Acorns started their Season off last week snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but no such second chance was offered to Bridge Inn B’s this week. Last week’s record breaking opening partnership couldn’t be replicated but a solid team effort including an attacking 46 from Charlie Fletcher sharing a partnership of 59 with (little?) brother Will saw the Acorns post an at least competitive 113-7 off their 20 overs.

If the depth of our batting surprised the opposition after last week’s openers performance the bowling, featuring two young changes, with Ben Russell and David Bergstrand replacing Max and Aaron, must have been a shock. The all round bowling and fielding performance was nothing less than tight, controlling and energetic. Wickets being spread around the bowlers supported by a series of great catches and parsimonious fielding. David Bergstrand snatching  3-14, Ben Russell 2-7, Summers 2-27 and Charlie 1-13 from their respective full allocations of 4 overs a piece.

The winning start to the season has started, we won’t be making more mistakes allowing teams off the hook’s of our young team.

06/05/14 – v Bridge Inn ‘B’. The Acorns went down in a nail biter. 130-3 to 125-4. Young Ben Aveyard a stylish 51 in opening stand of 99 with Joe Hornby (52). Final overs got stranded unable to rotate strike to Joe who was still in  However lots of notable performances including Max, Aaron Bolster and Jack Bailes bowling.

11/03/14 – In Division 7, The Acorns will face Chester Taverners, Bunbury, Bridge Inn B and Oak Tree Outlaws (Bersham, Wrexham). Teams will play each other 3 x’s plus one extra (wildcard) fixture.

News Feed 2013

27/08/13 – Acorns End of Season review

Over the course of the season for the Acorns we have faced a series of teams some of whom were very strong in depth and just starting their way up the Divisions, and some other teams with just a handful of better quality players providing a challenge up front both bowling and batting, but lacking a depth.  One team we faced didn’t even know who they were playing for and obviously were made up of a series of individual players from clubs close by. So we have all faced our own challenges both individually with bat and ball and as a team.

Acorns at Chum

I know at time we have been calling on many of our U15’s to create the team week to week which I recognise has been on top of all their other commitments. The could have been the potential for us therefore be tired or treat these games less seriously, however I never once detected any reduction in enthusiasm, even when we had been not gaining the wins we may have hoped at the beginning of the season.

All our younger players should consider that they came out of this league with great credit, I think every award of Man of the Match for us was given to a different player most of them our U15’s contingent demonstrating that the performances were equally spread between them and a strength in depth however great praise came from all our opponents for all of the younger players, performing to high standards and providing some serious opposition.

Whilst this year was always going to be the start of a longer term plan, it was also experimental to try to provide cricket for our 16 – 18yr olds who otherwise didn’t have an U18’s team to play in. The teams we have put out have been dominated by U15’s, with just a few players in the U18’s age bracket. As I said earlier I’m aware that this has been in addition to a great number of other matched that they had commitments to and whilst we lose a couple of players up into the U18 age bracket next year this situation will probably be repeated. I accept that the ‘rump’ of U15’s will soon themselves become U18’s however they will be all taking GSCE’s together in two years’ time so it would seem sensible to review the situation before committing to another year of playing Mid-Week League as the Acorns next year.

To that end I would be very keen to have the view of both players and parents about their feelings about playing as the Acorns again next year. After that we’ll discuss this at a future committee and take a view on the merits of doing so.

One last point I would like to make, is the response we have had from all the teams we have played, that we have a talented but above all a ‘sportingly’ competitive set of players. That we have played hard, fair and in the right spirit. They have enjoyed our games, as I hope, have we. I have to agree with them in this respect, although we won just one game I feel no disappointment, just pride in the way we have played which to my mind has been the main objective of the exercise.

Finally may I thank everyone who has contributed to this year for the team, from the players (senior and junior), some turning out at very  short notice, their parents for transport arrangements, Jeremy and Emlyn for their positive encouragement and support (and 12/ 13th man duties), my family for putting up with even more cricket commitments in a normal working week, Ian Charles and his ‘team’ for ensuring the ground and pitches were fit and marked out but particularly to Rob Hornby for his help, support and commitment to make sure boys had lifts, organisational duties were covered when I was away. Here’s to the future of a particularly talented set of juniors who will one day be a force to be reckoned with. That could just be ‘tomorrow’ I suspect they may be ‘that’ close.

Graham

10/7/13 – v Chester Taverners.

Acorns 135-6; B. Aveyard 26, B Russell 36, J Hornby 31, W Fletcher 17

Chester Taverner’s 127–8; B Young (4-0-15-0), M Tonge (4-0-24-1), A Taylor (4-0-24-0), B Russell (4-0-18-2), T Jones (2-0-21-0), G Aveyard (2-0-15-1) – 4 (four) Run outs – [Don’t take risks to our boys!]

MoM; Ben Russell

Well done boys told you we were getting better each game.

2/7/13 – Graham’s ‘half term’ report:

We are now half way through the Chester and District Midweek League season, and have just started the reverse fixtures and I thought it was a good time to have a bit of a round up and reflection of what we’ve achieved.

We have entered what was meant to be principally an ‘U18’s’ team into an adults T20 competition. In fact most games have been effectively and well supported by our U15’s plus a few others, at times (considerably) older players.

Despite us commencing in the bottom Division we have other new teams with us who may either aspire, or more realistically be capable of playing at a much higher standard and division. The last two weeks we faced one such team with great credit.

Brymbo are a team who will no doubt go up this year (or if not next year) and they admitted to playing four 1st team players, a few seconds and thirds. Nearly all were at least 20 to 22 years old, (some much older but experienced) and as a result a lot bigger and stronger. In fact they were extremely complimentary about many of our younger players and told me that they hadn’t had such a close game as last week’s all season.  So we should not be disappointed at our results so far, and I would like to use the last fortnight as an example of our performances and development.

Batting against fairly strong bowling attack looked confident, we are able to take good quick singles as well as the occasional boundary, Joe chosen as their choice as our man of the match in the first game dispatching a good bowler into the croft twice in successive deliveries and playing an innings of great maturity away at Brymbo.

Bowling generally tight against batsmen in the face of some hostile shot making by very capable players was demonstrated by Max opening the bowling with confidence and again was nearly their pick for our man of the match. Andy Taylor and Cian bowled well against some seriously good players in the second game and Sophie bowled with great control and skill against first team players for Brymbo.

However I was most pleased to see the fielding in the first game which was very much improved, sharp and positive. We looked every inch their standard if not better. Tremendous stuff, I loved watching it and I hoped they were impressed too.

Discussion with their players after the game did confirm their good impressions of the whole team, and the level that we played to. They were impressed with our facilities and the fact we get out 4 senior sides every weekend including as many U14’s and U15’s as we do and that you are all more than capable of playing at Senior level in T20 or longer games over the weekend.

Playing at Senior level in his competition was never going to be easy. The tough teams I imagined would present us real challenges have produced some hard games, but we’ve all stepped up to that challenge and come out with great credit. This was always likely to be a longer term project, with so few regular U18’s our younger juniors will improve rapidly over the next few years and start causing teams even as good as this real problems in future, and perhaps, with some good fortune with teams joining the league we’ll manage to win promotion. When you get three other good teams into this bottom division it will always be one of the hardest divisions to do well in, or even gain promotion so don’t be too concerned at the results so far. I’m looking at performance and so far we’ve exceeded expectations so well done to you all, thank you to those filling places, sometimes at late notice and look forward to the rest of the summer.

Thanks again for everything

Acorns playing their inaugural match v Bickerton Poacher at Cholmondley Castle
Acorns playing their inaugural match v Bickerton Poacher at Cholmondley Castle

25/3/13 Fixtures: first match is Weds 8th may at Cholmondley Castle v Bickerton Poacher CCAcorns fixtures 2013

26/2/13 – Div 7 Alvanley Acorns, Brymbo, Chester Tavern (CBHCC Wednesdays), MP Plumbing (CCO’s Thurs), Red Lion Handbridge, Bickerton Poacher, West Kirby Wasps (Birkenhead School Tuesdays)