Knebworth Park Cricket Club had a
truly remarkable season.
Their first and second teams both won the
Division One and Division Three titles in the Saracens Herts League, the
Fifth eleven gained promotion and the club became the first in the
county to run a Sixth side in the league.
All that ended with the club taking the
President's Trophy as Hertfordshire's Club of the Year.
Both the club's top two sides were
captained by players who were born and bred in the village - Ryan Skeggs
and Steve Holmes. In fact, the vast majority of the club's six elevens
are products of the highly successful youth policy.
Ryan steered the first team to an
imperious run. After looming towards the relegation zone in losing their
opening three matches, they never looked backed in winning 13 of their
14 remaining matches to win the league by a massive margin.
The first's effort was a true team
Tom Jenkins, opening bat and
wicketkeeper, who became the first Knebworth player to break through
into the county side was a key factor with his all-round performances
Ryan Skeggs both produced match winning
innings, none more so than when he led his side to victory from a
seemingly impossible position against second-placed Langleybury.
Opening bat Adrian Holmes chipped in with
valuable innings in blunting the opposition's bowling and overseas star
Nathan Reardon - who looks destined for stardom back home in Australia
-produced a series of scintillating innings.
The club's three veteran bowlers, Graham
Fisher, Chris Brook and Krishan Canagasabey plus new arrival Adam
Sergeant proved a handful for most teams.
All season, the seconds were dogging it
neck and neck with local rivals Welwyn Garden City at the top of
Division Three. They had both comfortably clinched promotion before the
final game of the season when they met to decide the champions.
||The result was on a knife edge in a
high-scoring game before a good crowd right up to the last ball.
Knebworth clinched the lion's share of the points in a drawn game to
ensure they leapfrogged in to top place.
Then, in the evening for the first time,
the club staged its awards presentation immediately after the last
matches, attracting nearly every player from all the club's six elevens
to round off a truly awesome effort by the whole of the club.
Presenting the awards on the club's
balcony, the club's President Lord Cobbold congratulated the whole club
for its magnificent season. 'This year has been the reward for hard work
throughout the club for several years in running thriving youth policy
and the hard work this season by all the players.'
James Wright, the club's Playing
Committee Chairman, also praised the efforts of the players, remarking
that over 50 throughout the teams had an average of over 20 in the
league. 'This been an outstanding year for the first and second teams in
winning their leagues and the fifth team gaining promotion. To run sixth
sides has also been a marvellous effort. I know that there is no other
club in the county with six league sides, and I wonder whether there is
another in the whole country.'
First team captain Ryan Skeggs impressed
the importance of the effort of the whole club and that the season has
been the result of years of youth development and in encouraging
everyone to compete and enjoy their cricket.
Herts 'keeper Tom Jenkins scooped two of
the trophies in the Park's awards for the 2004 season.
Jenkins who spent the winter in Australia
returned a better and stronger player, playing a key role in the Park's
successful season and for his efforts he was named the club's Most
Improved Player and took the Fielding Award.
He was leading the race for the batting
trophy until Aussie Nathan Reardon came up on the rails in the last two
matches to beat him to that one, Reardon finishing with a total of 670
Skipper Ryan Skeggs who topped the
batting averages won the Les Burt Trophy for the Performance of the
Season for his innings of 74 not out in chasing the daunting target of
262 for 4 to defeat Langleybury in July that took them to the top of the
table for the first time - a position they retained for the remainder of
Graham Fisher's six wickets in the final
match ensured he gained the bowling trophy with a total of 39 wickets.
There was no contest for the second team
award with Jarrod Turner staggering total of 1012 runs being the main
ingredient in the second's success. However, Junior d'Abreu developed
under his guidance and won the Young Player of the Year with his innings
of 88 on Saturday justly confirming his achievement.
Steve Gregory's all-round batting
(scoring 310 runs) and wicket keeping performances lifted the third team
shield, while under-15 'keeper Jono Evetts who also played some
important innings with the bat won the fourth team award. Club coach
Jeff Crowley, who took 23 wickets and 256 runs was the best performer
for the fifths.
A new award because of the introduction
of a sixth team saw another Under-15 Hayden Bartlett-Tasker take this
cup because of his 95 runs and eight wickets in the team's late entry in
to Division 13.
If you wish to join or find out more
about the club, phone Chris Johnson on 01438 817448 or 07867580492