Bradleys East Devon Youth League set for a facelift

PUBLISHED: 15:00 12 October 2019

Ottery St Mary Under-15s with the divisional trophy they won last season. Picture: BRADLEYS YOUTH LEAGUE

Ottery St Mary Under-15s with the divisional trophy they won last season. Picture: BRADLEYS YOUTH LEAGUE

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The Bradleys East Devon Youth League is in line for a facelift before the 2020 season starts, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

Competitive hardball cricket is available for players in the under-10 to under-15 age range, but not above and below.

Dick Holifield, the league's acting chairman, said an upsurge in primary school youngsters entering the game meant rethinking the competition's offer.

At the league's awards night hosted for the second year running by Cullompton CC, Holifield said a consultation and reform group has been set up to examine where the offer can be improved.

The first working group meeting will take place at Exeter CC on Thursday, October 17.

"With more than 1,500 children playing All Stars cricket in Devon during 2019, the time is right to revise the youth structure to reflect a surge in young cricketers," said Holifield.

"The compressed, 12-week junior season is stressful and challenges clubs and facilities as well as leaving a void during the later summer for many children.

"There is an expectation to look at a development league for older and open-age players as well as running a longer and thinner league season.

"Following a consultation in the summer clubs can join the working group to help develop ways to extend the youth season and fulfil more matches over a longer season.

"Clubs will be challenged to support both the amount of games, formats and to maintain the levels of coaching and support necessary."

Exeter CC were the undisputed cup kings as far as the league and the county were concerned in 2019.

The County Ground outfit win won all five league cups and Devon Cups. The Girls were national under-13 champions and the boys finished fourth in their national competition.

Cup final players of the match were the Exeter quintet of Alex Tipper (U11), Zach Vukusic (U12), Harry Sharp (U13), Oscar Lovell (U14) and Harry Wilkins (U15).

The league titles were spread around between Heathcoat (U15), Ottery St Mary (U14) and Heathcoat and Ottery sharing the U13 title. Exeter were runners-up in all three competitions.

Topsham all-rounder Tom Russell won the U15 batting and bowling awards. Ottery players Lawrence Walker (U14) and Sam Gleeson (U13) took bowling trophies. Matt Jeacock (Ottery U14s) and Ellen Dixon (Topsham U13s) were the bowling award winners.

The Peter Howard Bowl, awarded for services to the league, was presented to long-serving treasurer Charlie Dibble, who his standing down after eight years in the post. The search is now on for a successor.

Holifield thanked league sponsors Bradleys Estate Agents and cup sponsors Devon County Sports for their continued support.

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