The Under 19 2012 Season












v Exeter University at Exeter C.C. – Devon won by 4 wickets



(H.Booker 3-33)



(M.Golding 73)




v Worcestershire at Wolverhampton C.C. – Devon won by 6 wickets



(M.Kidd 3-22)



(J.Mailling 33, R.Davies 35)




v Wiltshire at Urchfont C.C.– Devon lost by 1 wicket



(B.Huxtable 30, Z.Bess 48, C.Bryan 51. B.Searle 32)



(W.Squire 3-32)




v Wiltshire at Axminster C.C.– Devon won by 28 runs



(B.Huxtable 123*, R.Davies 112)



(G.Yates 3-47)




v Cornwall at Exmouth C.C.– Devon lost by 9 wickets



(Z.Bess 40, R.Davies 40, C.Eaves 38)








The 2012 Squad

B.Huxtable (captain);  Z.Bess; H.Booker; C.Bryan; R.Davies; C.Eaves; R.Glass; M.Golding; C.Grainger; G.Greenway; P.Heard; B.Holmes; M.Kidd; J.Mailling; J.Maunder; J.Popham; D.Powell; B.Searle; W.Squire; S.Wyatt-Haines; G.Yates.

The 2012 season was a most useful one in almost every respect. Confidence can be gained by being involved in such a set up and there can be real pleasure and benefit by playing in a team of like minded people. It is always a delight to watch players, who in some cases had started their county careers as nine year olds, blossom and flourish into very nearly the finished article. Under Matt Wood it was obvious that this group enjoyed each other’s company and played some really good cricket.

The Devon Cricket Board and Exeter University have forged a very strong relationship. The Board were therefore delighted to agree to provide their under nineteens as opposition to give the University side a competitive workout before the University started their MCC programme. This very early season fixture was played at Exeter Cricket Club who pulled out all the stops to ensure the game was played and were brilliant hosts. Barney Huxtable won the toss and invited Exeter to bat. His opposite number, Joe Barrs, had last played against the county for Cambridgeshire in the MCCA play off at March Town the previous September. Under seventeens Paul Heard and Jack Popham opened the bowling and restricted Devon’s own Zack Bess and Webb to nineteen off their eight overs. Matt Kidd and Craig Eaves took over to keep the stranglehold on, with left arm seamer Eaves trapping Webb leg before with his fifth ball in a wicket maiden. After twenty overs the University were scoring at 2.2. Playing his only game of the season Sandford's Ryan Glass had his first bowl of the season and was bowling in the company of Paignton’s George Yates. Pleasingly Yates had put behind him his nightmare summer of 2011 and he looked to be back to his best both in the field and whilst bowling, topping the bowling averages in 2012. Seventy were added by Bess and the impressive keeper-batsman, Laidman. The second wicket fell in the thirtieth over with Eaves catching a skyer off Harry Booker to send back Zack Bess. Matthew Golding joined the attack in tandem with Booker and the spinners turned the screw with the University scoring just eighteen runs in the ten overs up to their fortieth. Wickets were taken in the thirty-sixth over, another wicket maiden, when Booker trapped Curtis leg before and the Braunton bowler took his third wicket in the fortieth when Lawler was bowled. In the final ten overs of their innings Exeter scored at just over five, losing top scorer Laidman run out by a direct hit from Golding. Laidman had importantly contributed sixty-three of the 146 on the board. Kidd took the final wicket of the innings, caught behind by Davies to remove Exeter’s captain for 1 with Edwards unbeaten on 28. This had been a generally proficient bowling and fielding performance although, perhaps due to rustiness, a number of chances were not taken. Harry Booker took 3-32 off his ten overs. Only twelve extras were conceded, not a single no ball and only eight wides. Huxtable handled his side well and it was good to see so many supporters of Devon Youth Cricket at the ground including Bath’s winger, Alex Brown, Max Curtis and the Mitcham family, sadly minus Tom.

Exeter’s excellent spread dealt with any hunger issues and the strange story of the Boat Races mystery swimmer was relayed and indeed watched! Devon’s target was 161, a rate of just over 3 an over albeit in typical damp April conditions. A couple of showers were experienced but no time was lost. Booker and Josh Mailling opened and the Plympton all-rounder did not complete his most auspicious of games. Although his ground fielding was up to scratch he did not bowl, he missed out on an over the shoulder catch and was bowled fourth ball by Barton. He was to end the summer as the Devon League Young Player of the Year so the summer did get better! The captain lasted twenty-nine balls but was Barton’s second victim when he was caught behind. After fifty-nine balls Devon were 20-2. Matthew Golding, who had been the under 17s batsman of the year for the previous two summers, continued his exceptional consistency in putting on forty-nine with Booker for the third wicket. The last time the pair had batted together they had put on 114 against Worcestershire at Exmouth. Curtis gained the third leg before of the innings to end Booker’s innings. He had faced sixty-eight balls for his important 23. Golding had scored two runs more and now entered his side’s highest partnership of the innings, putting on 52 with Connor Bryan. Golding contributed thirty-nine to take him past his first fifty of the summer. Although smaller Bryan's contribution was equally important as Devon were now 121-4 off 34 overs. Seamer Barrs bowled Bryan and Rhys Davis lasted only three balls for his two. Golding fell with his side twenty-one runs light when Barrs gained the fourth and final leg before of the day. Craig Eaves and Ryan Glass took a liking to third man as they played well off the back foot to take Devon home with thirty-eight balls to spare. Devon’s coach, Matt Wood, had not had a weekend off since Christmas sped up the motorway for a much deserved family break in Spain.

Twelve weeks later the under 19 season started again with an early start and long journey up to Wolverhampton to play the Worcestershire Academy. It started bright and the Transit fired up first time, all were present at the meeting places but already we were ten minutes behind schedule. Intermittent wipe was spasmodically used up to the outskirts of Bristol when we were then using the rapid wipe. The captain learnt where Nottingham is located and we eventually found ourselves on the Wolverhampton Olympic Torch Route enjoying about twenty sets of traffic lights all on red. The Coach was contacted and a reduction in overs to 45 a side was agreed. Will Squire and TomTom did their bit in getting the side to the ground even if the driver nearly did go the wrong way!

In view of the growing relationship with Worcestershire with the sixteens and seventeens playing annually, it seemed logical to also play their academy. Arranging suitable grounds, particularly on a Sunday, is proving increasingly difficult and Worcestershire apologised for taking us into Staffordshire. However the venue was excellent and if you had tuned into Channel 979 the previous Thursday and watched Midlands Today you would have witnessed the result of the Wolverhampton flash floods. This had cast a doubt on the fixture but the Club worked exceedingly hard to make the game possible. It was overcast and there was moisture in the air when Barney Huxtable won an important toss and Devon elected to field. Conditions were far from ideal for either batting or bowling and there was a brief interruption for rain which resulted in a loss of an over a side. Devon did not field to the high standard they normally set themselves. This may have been a combination of an early start, three hours on the bus and not ideal conditions, but chances were missed which was annoying. Thanks to some excellent bowling and taking a reasonable percentage of the catches offered by their hosts, Worcestershire were 156-9 at the end of their allocation. In the tenth over and his second Jack Popham, who had taken five in the previous year’s under 16 game earning him a trip up to New Road, took the first wicket. This was thanks to a catch from the captain. The score was thirty-four as openers Matt Kidd and Craig Eaves had bowled effectively obtaining some good carry. Debutant Will Squire entered the attack in the sixteenth over. He has had to wait to make his county debut longer than most. The 2011 rain and abandonments delayed his appearance by just under a year. At last he was in the royal, gold and black of Devon and with his eleventh ball he removed the second opener, Carasco. Mailling held his second chance of the afternoon despite some harassment. The Worcestershire captain, Rhodes, in his fourth appearance against Devon, was holding his side together. Squire took his second and the side’s third wicket in the twenty-eighth over when Kidd held Clarke on the rope. This brought another of a number of county second team players, Ollie Steele, to the crease. He had scored a century against the county at Exmouth in 2011 as his side failed to pass the 376 they were set. He is another talented player but lasted only twenty-three balls before Kidd took his first wicket with Rhys Davies taking another skyer. It transpired of the three centurions from the last two years (Golding and Huxtable the others) his and Golding's fifteen would be the best return. Worcestershire were now four down with 115 on the board and nine overs left. The home side then scored at just under four and a half an over losing five more wickets as Devon dictated the play. Matt Kidd took the next two wickets bowling Harris and trapping Joshi leg before. George Yates, back from his break in the sun, took the remaining three wickets including the vital one of Rhodes caught by Matt Golding. His contribution had been an outstanding seventy-six ball sixty-two. This was the top score of the game and he had batted for one hundred and two minutes. In the same over Yates bowled Charwood and in his next over he dismissed Underwood in an identical fashion. The last pairing put on another couple of runs as Worcestershire finished on 156-9. Matt Kidd’s return of 3-22 was the best of the season.

The weather then transformed into warm bright sunshine and almost a perfect summer afternoon. Devon’s captain was brilliantly held at slip off a no ball but fell in the sixth over with his side on 14, when Edwards caught him off Underhill. Josh Mailling and his new partner Zack Bess then compiled the best partnership of the game, putting on fifty-five in a minute over the hour off ninety-nine balls. They looked in total control until Bess chanced the arm of mid wicket and was run out by a whisker by a direct hit. It was good to learn that Zack was on the bowling recovery route and his time at the cricket centre at Exeter University has been well spent. Mailling was batting very sensibly but lost a decidedly unwell Golding with eight still needed for the hundred. Devon reached three figures in the twenty-seventh over but in the next over and five runs later the side’s anchor fell. The coach had been looking for a nice fifty-five not out from the opener as the target was passed but he scored another thirty. He swept spinner Turley and had his middle stump knocked back. Mailling had batted outstandingly, hitting two fours and a six but once again did not get past thirty-nine. With Rhys Davies batting intelligently, he and Harry Booker comfortably put on the remaining fifty-two runs, which was the best fifth wicket partnership of 2012. This took up another seventy-eight balls and after forty-one minutes together at the crease the game was won. Davies struck a couple of trademark straight sixes which both ended up in the car park behind the pavilion. Davies was unbeaten on 35 and Booker 14 not out. This was another worthwhile exercise with some of the best young talent in Devon showcasing their skills to a first class county and hopefully starting to fully appreciate their own ability.

The weather ruled out the next two programmed games with Dorset and Cornwall and it was another early start for the away game against Wiltshire. The sky was already deep blue and the sun warming up, a rare typical South African morning. There was an absentee at Exeter, he had not read the match details and was soon on his way down from Tiverton. We never did find out if he had received an excess car park ticket. Tractors appeared programmed every twenty minutes to slow our way, a false alarm allowed all the large trucks we had passed to get in front of us, we will add an appropriate bottle to the essential travel kit and we arrived about fifteen minutes late. This was a disappointment as we had planned to arrive half an hour early. However the coach took over fours hours to get to the ground, an inaccurate post code had not helped, and summer had at last arrived. Sadly it did not last long.

Our reversion to nineteens has resulted in our playing our neighbours’ older Development squads. At the attractive village Urchfont ground we were confronted by a mature side, some with close connections to Hampshire, without any of our seventeens who were resting up for three subsequent tiring days in Taunton. This resulted in debuts for four players – Billy Searle, Dan Powell, Ben Holmes and George Greenway. The captain had been pressing for the inclusion of George all summer and at last the weather had relented to allow him to join us. We had been due to play at the same ground last year but it had rained. It is a typical attractive Manor House ground, taking some of us back to the fifties and sixties! Former Test Match Special scorer Bill Frindall had a close association with this club. Huxtable called incorrectly but achieved his objective as Devon were invited to bat. With a relatively inexperienced batting line up, a reasonable start was the target. All seemed to be progressing in the right direction as the captain and Zack Bess looked in total control. They had put on forty-five in thirteen overs when, on the second ball of the fourteenth, Bess drove smoothly back to the bowler Richards who collected the ball spun around and ran out Huxtable. Not an unfamiliar dismissal for this loyal North Devonian to Devon Cricket. Live streaming of games has a disadvantage as the captain’s phone had some immediate text messages. Harry Booker, whose late arrival had resulted in a front seat and the responsibility for the music on the trip up, joined Bess. The pair had batted together for eleven overs putting on 30 when, in the twenty-fifth over, Booker was bowled by Dawson. Devon at the halfway stage were well behind the clock on 75. Another stalwart of youth cricket, Paignton's Connor Bryan, joined Bess and had taken Devon up to 121 when in the thirty-sixth over Bess, two short of his fifty and having faced one hundred and two balls, was caught by Haggaty off Painter. Billy Searle and Bryan put on Devon’s best partnership of the game scoring 69 off sixty-four balls. The consistent Bryan passed another fifty and Searl very nearly scored at a run a ball but his dismissal ruined it and he ended with thirty-two off thirty-three. Devon was now well placed for a final onslaught, being on 190 with thirty-two balls and six wickets remaining. As always cricket never goes to plan as Bryan, Eaves and Booker were lost with the addition of just four runs. Eaves was caught, Kidd leg before and Bryan sacrificed his wicket on a dodgy run. George Greenway will remember his first innings for the wrong reasons -197-8. Under fifteen Dan Powell and George Yates contributed another thirteen to the total taking Devon, with the help of twenty extras, up to 214-9. The last pair had batted sensibly and fluently. Ben Holmes did not have a chance to bat but he built up a relationship with the heifers in his quest for lost balls.

Wiltshire then got off to a flyer as Alsop and Clark put on 125 in twenty-two overs. The Devon bowlers took a pounding but it was the introduction of Will Squire into the attack that started to turn the game. With his first ball he had Alsop caught by Eaves and Devon started to turn the screw. Booker was now bowling in tandem and he took the next wicket six overs later with Ben Holmes holding the catch. Wiltshire now needed sixty-two with seven wickets in hand and one hundred and twenty balls available. Squire took the next two wickets, one leg before and a smart stumping from Powell,156-4. Huxtable caught Reynolds off Booker, 176-5. Squire completed his outstanding spell of 3-32 off ten. Matt Kidd now started an exceptional second spell bowling with real pace and determination. On 184 he trapped Hawkins leg before, George Yates joined in dismissing Richards in a similar manner, Kidd bowled Mitchell and Yates bowled Roberts 202-9. Twelve runs were now needed, one wicket left and twenty-five balls available. This had become an excellent game of cricket and demonstrated what Devon cricket is all about - belief, character and determination all personified by their captain. Wiltshire came out on top scoring the winning run off the last ball of the penultimate over. Extras had contributed too many - thirty-two - and the twenty-seven additional balls, particularly in the last six few overs, were critical. Greenway received some tuition on DJing from the unlikely Kidd, Bryan rested his shins, there were some more tractors and burgers halfway.

At the time it appeared that the home fixture at Axminster would be the last game to be played for some time at Cloakham Lawn. Fortunately this will not be the case but had it been we could not have finished on a better note. The match was played on one of the best days of two thousand and twelve and on one of the best tracks of the year. With a number of the Devon squad playing in the Twenty20 at Cornwood, two admirable sides put on their own brand of crash, bang and wallop in a run feast. Wiltshire won the toss and, as they had in the earlier fixture, invited Devon to bat. At tea they may well have regretted the decision, as Devon had scored 324 at a rate of nearly six and a half an over. This was the third highest one day score by the nineteens having only been bettered in 1988 - 327 - and in 1989 - 330 - but both had been off sixty overs. Zack Bess, who had unselfishly given up an opportunity of some T20 cricket, was out in the fifth over with Devon’s score on 25. The Exmouth pairing of Barney Huxtable and Rhys Davies then put on 216 off 233 balls. This was the highest second wicket partnership beating the 118 by Ian Gamble and Alex Bailey at Wellington College against Shropshire in 1998 and the second ever highest under nineteen partnership, thirty-five short of the Court/Anning partnership at Dean Park in 2000. By a large margin this was the highest ever one day under nineteen partnership. The shot selection was extraordinary as the pavilion roof was clattered and cleared. Davies reached his fifty off forty-six balls, his hundred off one hundred and fourteen. His hundred was achieved with a straight six which was captured on camera and altogether he smote twelve fours and six sixes. Considering this was watched by his family, who do not have the best track record particularly in the Midlands, this was an amazing onslaught. We have enjoyed Davies cameos for some time but this innings just reinforced what he can and should achieve regularly, it was a master class. He had shown us all what he can do. At the other end the captain was on his way to another hundred. His last county ton was against Worcestershire at Ombersley two years previously. Barney reached his fifty off sixty balls, no slow coach, and his hundred off one hundred and twenty-eight balls. He hit sixteen fours and two sixes and was unbeaten on 123 as the overs ran out. Davies had been bowled in the forty-first over with Devon on 241. Connor Bryan then helped add eighty-three off fifty-four balls in thirty-three minutes. This was the second highest partnership of the summer. His contribution was a typical twenty-nine off twenty-seven balls. Helped by forty-two wides and fifty-two extras in all, Devon were very well placed at the interval. A typical Geoff Enticott tea was devoured and it had been good to catch up with Les Haynes and Phil Spong during the afternoon.

For the first time in the summer ice creams had been enjoyed and a repeat order was made as Wiltshire batted. They went for it with real gusto and, in fact, did not stop until they were all out off the last ball of the final over. They had reached two hundred and ninety-six so the excellent Brian Prior track had produced six hundred and twenty-one runs. Unsurprisingly Wiltshire had always been slightly behind the clock despite sixty-four from the captain Davies, sixty-one from Reynolds and other useful contributions. Devon also contributed forty-nine extras including twenty-eight wides. Holmes bowled Clark in the fourth over, Davies and Reynolds put on one hundred and nineteen off one hundred and fifty-four balls. Wiltshire were well placed at 140-1 when Squire ran out Davies. On the same score Jack Mynott was brilliantly caught at slip by Wyatt-Haines off Booker. Reynolds and Patrick had added fifty-one when Dan Powell held Reynolds off Will Squire, under fifteen Dan Powell had put on another polished performance behind the stumps. Zack Bess took his first wicket with the first ball of his second over when he bowled Patrick. George Yates then bowled a key spell taking 3-47 off an illegal 2 balls over his allotted 10 overs. All three victims were bowled they were Haines, Goodwin and Mitchell on the second ball of his illegal eleventh and the final over of the day. Greenway then took over for the remaining four balls. Zack Bess took 2-31 off six and it was reassuring to see him bowling again after all his back problems. Greenway took the final wicket bowling Richards – the sixth time the stumps had been struck. Devon had fielded well, marshalled exceptionally by their captain and despite the late departure time it had been a most pleasurable day.

Visualisation is now very much part of cricket and it is anticipated that the end result of this final youth game of the summer at Exmouth did not feature in any of the home side’s hopes and aspirations. This game against an under strength Cornwall side did not go to plan in any direction. With five players from this group moving on from the Board’s stewardship, a comprehensive win for the home side was the desired result. It went wrong from the moment Barney Huxtable lost his last toss and Devon was inserted. Cornwall removed Josh Mailling in the third over, when he was bowled by their Under 17 – Alex May. Next over Looe’s Fred Carter took his first county wicket. He had been drafted in literally at the eleventh hour and he ruined Huxtable’s final Board appearance when Jake Libby caught him for nought. It, of course, got worse from 6-2 it became 13-3 when another of the departing five, Connor Bryan, was Carter’s second victim, caught by Eggins. Connor has tended to be underrated since he joined in at fifteens but is another who has made telling contributions since, his debut, sick note will be missed. Bess, another in his last game, and Davies put on the best partnership of the innings in taking the score up to 84. Their partnership of 71 was the best fourth wicket contribution of the summer. The run rate was good - over four and a half. Bess was run out ten short of a fifty and Devon was again on the back foot. It was unfortunate that Zack, who has played an important part in Devon cricket since he made his debut in 2002, did not reach fifty. He was the last Bess brother from a family whose sons have spanned a period of thirteen years in Devon youth cricket. Fortunately Grandmother still travels with cousin Dom and has a couple of seasons left. Bess hit seven fours and faced forty-seven balls. At the other end Rhys Davies was playing another typical Davies innings. Jack Maunder then made his debut at this level as a late call up. Two days earlier in Leek Wooton the social network Twitter had alerted us to an injury. Hopefully this is not to become a mainstream system for cry-offs and a courtesy call is still made. It really is vital that some of the hyperbole that had been circulating in 2012 is not taken literally and it is hoped it is in the past. This injury, apparently not helped by a fitness test, resulted in a bonus for Devon cricket and an under 19 debut for an outstanding talent. The under 15 responded with a mature innings of nineteen off fifteen balls. He fell with the score on one hundred and thirteen, one over short of the half way stage. Eight runs later in the twenty-sixth over Devon suffered a major loss. Rhys Davis was caught by Harvey off Eggins for the second forty of the innings. Similarly to Bess he had hit seven fours, he had batted for eight minutes over the hour and faced sixty-three balls. This had been another excellent knock from the batter who topped the season’s averages with an excellent average of 63. Devon then took their score up to two hundred and three with vital contributions from Booker, brilliantly caught by Smith, Eaves, Yates, Squire and Kidd. Craig Eaves failed by two runs to be the joint top scorer but his fifty-four minute and ball innings helped keep Devon in the game. Matt Kidd knocked the ball around with Will Squire, facing eight balls in scoring eleven and putting on an  unbroken sixteen for the tenth wicket to take Devon past two hundred. Kidd has played a very important part over the past three summers and his bowling has been fundamental in recent successes and as with the others will be greatly missed.

Once again the T-Hut put on another splendid tea but Devon needed wickets, particularly early ones. Their cause was not helped when Jack Popham limped off after one delivery. Cornwall’s Jake Libby had the season of his young life in 2012 having demonstrated his huge ability the previous week, when he played for the South West under 21s against the England Development under 17s. He gave one early chance but then did not look back. He was well supported by left hander Harvey and they put on one hundred and eighty-six in forty overs. Harvey was more generous in giving chances as perhaps as many as five were spilled and the dye had been cast. This was simply excellent batting by a rare talent on another splendid Exmouth track. With Cornwall having reached Nelson by the halfway stage the result appeared a foregone conclusion. The pair continued to accumulate and after one hundred and twenty-one deliverers Libby reached three figures. With his job done, Harvey tried to reach the beach but was bowled by Booker. Under seventeen Harry Bolland then watched Libby score the remaining eighteen runs and the rout was complete. Genuine congratulations were expressed to the former Plymouth College student, who over the summer had most certainly come of age. Catches etcetera but Cornwall fully deserved this win, as Devon did not reach the standards some of them have worked hard to achieve for eleven years. This result cannot be undone nor can all the achievements of the players moving on. They should all be very proud of what they have achieved. In particular captain Barney Huxtable who sums up what is excellent about young Devonians. He had good and bad days but his approach never changed, he always gave his best. He won the Peter Atkinson Cup as the Player of the Year and his satellite acceptance speech at the Awards Evening was a great success. It had been a been a great pleasure to be involved with this group, they had been excellent company, reached national finals and always competed. Many will go on to achieve more but they have been a credit to themselves, their families and Devon.