IN HIS monthly column for the Hereford Times operations director Steve Watkins looks over last season:

THE amalgamation of Herefordshire Cricket Board and the Herefordshire CCC moved into its second year, after a truncated 2020 season.

The National County team completed a successful season being crowned National Counties Western Division 2 champions after victories against Shropshire (by seven wickets) Wales (by 70 runs) Devon (by 10 wickets) and the better of a draw at Cornwall.

Captain Matt Pardoe again led by example with 389 runs and 24 wickets. Hammond (546 runs) and Ben Chapman Lilley (324 runs) made huge contributions with the bat while Barney Morgan (25 wickets) and James Rudge (23 wickets) led the way with the ball.

Over the last couple of seasons Herefordshire have forged a strong link with Worcestershire County Cricket Academy and there is now a clear pathway from our U11 juniors right through to first class cricket with Worcestershire; several of our young players gaining experience in all formats of the game this season.

Two of whom have received further recognition, Zain Hussain was awarded the Birmingham and District League Young Player of the Year Award and Alex Russell was a member of the National Counties X1 that won the European Cricket T10 competition in Spain.

In the junior age groups some encouraging performances from Luke Powell, Tom Skerrett, Harry Sockett, Indie Jerram, Oliver, and Archie Langford ensure that the development pathway remains strong.

Burghill Juniors won the U11 and U13 Herefordshire cup and Wormelow the U15’s Herefordshire Cup.

The U13 ECB cup was won by Luctonians and the U15 ECB cup was won by Wormelow who also reached the semi-finals of the regional competition.

Following the success of this year’s “Hundred” competition we have seen an increase in juniors with the All-Stars and Dynamos programme proving incredibly popular with over 300 children taking part at local clubs.

All Stars Cricket is an initiative from the ECB aimed at providing children aged 5-8yrs old with a great first experience in cricket.

Women and girls’ participation is also increasing with three club sides now offering ladies cricket and Brockhampton CC Ladies.