April saw a shaky start to the season for him with massive muscle reduction due to the inactivity, he was run-out so many times because he lacked the power and strength at the start of the season. Batsmen targeted him it seemed seeing that of all the players he was the one that couldn't run that well. Initially it looked as though he might not have a team, so many of the kids that were in his team in the 2011 season seemingly giving up and fading way in the 2012 season which was also marred by the fact that it was one of the wettest summers on record here in the UK. At the start of the season his U13's team was made up of 3 kids and what with all of the other factors I was afraid that he may have turned round and said "Dad, I'm not that fussed, it's going to be 2 years before my legs back to normal... I wont play this season". Thankfully the youth manager at the club Jeff 'No-Ball' Noble came up with a cunning plan...
Our U15's team is in a good situation with more players than are needed, meaning many of the lads get over-looked for most of the games. Jeff realised that he could make up an U15's 'B' team by combing the over-looked U15's boys and the U13's "Three". Through discussions with the local clubs he was able to set up a season of 'Under 15's B-Team matches and so Joe was back on track albeit only 11 and in an U15's league. Despite the fact that Joe had his weak leg, a year out of all sport and being one of the youngest in the team, he went from strength to strength. His abilitied were stretched even further as he was commandered to play in the U16's team - made up of 90% U15's A-Team players. He didn't back down and had to face some seriously pacey bowling from some big lads that must have turned 16 on the day that allowed them to play in the U16's!!!
As the year went on her got fitter and fitter, being that bit older he was prepared to put his body on the line in the field and he bowled really well. Over the summer in the paddock he began to work with finger spin and has got pretty good at it mixing it up with his straight stuff in matches. I reckon next year as his leg nears normalisation and he grows in height and all round confidence this'll come together quite well.
At the end of the season we had our clubs annual fun day, which I love and at the end of the day they issued all the youth players with the annual youth awards. I hadn't thought about that much as Ben hadn't practiced in the paddock at all almost and as a result his bowling this season was very sporadic in both the U15's and the 4ths and 3rd XI's. He had the ocassional spell that went well and the odd over here and there was really good, but nothing like the consistency of some of the other boys in his age group. With regards to bowling, Joe had got better all year, but what with being in the same age group and team as the legendary Frank Farrington (Wrist Spinner) Joe was never going to be in contention for a bowling award. But I'd over-looked the potential of 'All-rounder'. I think they announced the U15's awards first and when they got to the all-rounder award, it then dawned on me... Who would be the 'All-rounder'? I thought who was in the team and realised it would be between Frank and Joe and therefore Joe had a chance and sure enough as you'll see below, Joe won U15's B-Team All-rounder!!!
Joe 3rd from left with the other winners for 2013 including fellow 'Paddock Boy' Harry 'The underground shrew' Hodgson.
Joe and Harry Hodgson.