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Paul Middlemiss18 Sep - 10:47
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More than 250 games, 12 trophies and lots of memories

When the U12s won a thrilling Central Cup Final against Hutton in the dusk last weekend, it capped a truly memorable season for junior cricket at Upminster. More than 320 young cricketers of 16 or under played for and/or trained with the club during the 2023 summer, and there were 12 trophy successes to celebrate.

Our youngest cricketers, from Years R, 1 and 2 trained at the club on Friday evenings throughout the summer months. Led by Head Coach Simmons and his huge team of coaches and volunteers, these sessions give our young players a fun and enjoyable introduction to cricket. As could be seen during the sessions on the morning of last weekend’s Benefit Match, these players have made huge strides over the last five months.

Our U8 and U9 boys teams played a grand total of 41 matches during the season, winning 24 of them. For a number of this group this was the first season in which they have taken part in games against other clubs, and they performed superbly. Our U8s finished in fourth place in their Central Softball East Division (which was a ten team, U9 league) while our U9s stormed to the title in the Central Softball West Division, losing just one game in this competition. In the Central Hardball League our sides came fourth and seventh in an eight team division, while both sides also took part in the Havering Softball League (although no table is kept for this league). The season was capped for this squad with their appearance in the Central Cup Final at Bentley. On this day the side came up against an excellent Billericay team who were worthy winners, but the Upminster side will have gained a huge amount from the experience and were a credit to the club throughout the day.

Played 41
Won 24
Lost 17

Central U9 Softball West Division
Central U9 Hardball Cup

Our busiest squad in 2023 was that of our U10 and U11 boys. They played in a whopping 80 games, winning a remarkable 57 of them!! They also claimed four trophies and three runners-up spots in a truly memorable season. In the Central U10s Hardball Division Upminster’s Ultras claimed the title with eight wins from eight games, while the Ultimate squad also completed all of their eight games to finish in eighth position. In the Central U10 Softball Division the Ultras claimed the runners-up spot, while the team just missed out on a Hardball League and Cup double when they were narrowly beaten by Brentwood in the last over of the Central Cup Final.

The U11s Ultimate side claimed the Central U11 Division One title with seven wins from seven, while the Ultras finished in third spot, and the Ultras also reached the Central Cup Final, but like the U10s missed out against Brentwood in a last over thriller. The Ultras also competed in the Central U12 Division One competition and played superbly to finish in third place, while the U11 Underdogs took part in Central Division Two West, finishing in a very respectable fifth place.

In the Having U11 League, our U11 Ultras claimed top spot, winning seven of their eight games, while the U10 Ultras performed well to finish in fourth place in the same league. And in the newly formed Development League, the U11 Ultras ended the season at the top of the pile after winning three of their four matches. The squad also took part in the Essex Mini Matchplay under the lights at the County Ground, where they won all of their games, and also sent sides to Bank Holiday Charity events at Belhus and Maldon, where a great time was had by all involved. All in all it was a phenomenal season for this squad.

Played 80
Won 57
Lost 23

Central U10 Hardball Division
Central U11 Division One
Havering U11 League
U11 Development League
Central U10 Cup
Central U11 Cup
Central U10 Softball League

Our girls section continued to expand and progress during the 2023 season and our younger girls squads enjoyed a brilliant season. Our U10 Girls claimed top spot in the Central U10 Girls League after going unbeaten throughout the season. And our U11 Girls completed all of their games in the Central U9 Boys Softball West Division and the Havering U9s League. The U11 squad also won the Central Softball Festival in July, going on to represent the Central District in the County Finals later in the summer. Our U9 Girls also played their first games against other clubs, taking part in five friendly games, winning three of them, but most importantly enjoying their first experience of playing in matches.

Played 24
Won 13
Lost 11

Central U10 Girls Division
Central U10 Softball Festival

It was a topsy-turvy season for the U12s and U13s squad, but ended with a thrilling win for the U12s in the Central Cup Final. With the junior season drawing to a close, the Upminster batters kept their never to clinch a thrilling victory in the dusk and claim the trophy. The U12s had also come close to glory in the Brian Taylor (County) competition. Having lost their opening group game they went on a fine run, qualifying for the knockout stages before eventually bowing out to eventual winners Oakfield Parkonians in the semi-final, by just 11 runs.

In the Central League results were mixed in the U13 and U12 Division One competitions, but in Central U13 Division Two West a late run of good results saw the side finish in third place in an eleven team league. Both the U12s and U13s also competed in the Havering U13 League, finishing in fifth and eighth places respectively.

Played 46
Won 23
Lost 23

Central U12 Cup

Our older girls squad enjoyed a hugely successful season both in terms of results and increased participation. In the Central League competitions there were league titles in the U12s Softball and U13 Hardball competitions, while the U13s also won the Essex Softball Smash held at Billericay in May.

In the hardball County competitions the U13s again performed well, finishing third, while the U15s completed all of their games to finish in fifth position. And in the National Cup competitions the girls recorded the club’s best ever results to reach the third round in both the U13 and U15 events. The U13 Girls also played in the Havering U11 Boys competition, and the U15 Girls in the Havering U13 Boys competition, and while results were mixed the girls showed huge commitment and enthusiasm to ensure all but one of their games across both age groups were completed.

As well as all of these games, a number of the older girls played senior ladies cricket during the season and many more will hope to progress to this level over the coming seasons.

Played 36
Won 14
Lost 22

Central U12 Girls Division
Central U13 Girls Division
Essex Softball Smash

A Central Cup Final triumph was the icing on the cake of a fine season for the U15s. Taking on Brentwood in the final at Bentley, the Upminster side put in a fine all round performance to claim victory by 60 runs. That win made up for missing out on the Central League Division One title by the narrowest of margins, Upminster eventually finishing in third place on net run rate, having actually won more games than winners Shenfield.

The squad also competed in the Sir Alastair Cook Trophy (U14s) and the Havering League, and while results in these competitions were mixed both events gave a number of the squad some invaluable experience which they were able to take into senior cricket on Saturday afternoons.

Played 22
Won 13
Lost 9

Central U15 Cup

There was heartache for the U16s, as they missed out on qualification for the Matchplay knockout stages on net run rate. Having won two of their first three group games, Upminster were not given the chance to increase their net run rate in their final game when the opposition conceded. Upminster then ended on a lower net run rate than one other side from Groups 1-3, meaning they missed out on qualification. It was a harsh ending to the colts careers of a number of players in the squad, and their manager David Siggins, but we are pleased that so many of this group are now continuing to play senior cricket for the club.

Played 3
Won 2
Lost 1

Of course, all of the above is not possible without the tireless efforts of so many people. Playing more than 250 games requires a huge amount of work and we must thank scorers, umpires, ground-staff, parents and a whole host of other people for everything they do to make this possible. And we must especially thank our team of coaches and the team managers for their work across all 12 months of the year. Without their efforts there simply wouldn’t be any cricket being played.

We must also thank everyone at Essex Cricket in the Community, the Central Essex Youth Participation Group and the Havering Junior Cricket League for all of their work in running so many competitions that our young players are able to play in.

Roll on the indoor season!!!!

Played 258
Won 147
Lost 111
Won by Concession 17 (not included in above totals)
Lost by Concession 3 (not included in above totals)

Further reading