IN 2012, when two of Himley Cricket Club's five senior teams gained promotion and the club won the Black Country T20 title in style, few expected that the 2013 season could bring even greater success.
But, the club's Mark Read tells us, Himley's junior section had other ideas, and went beyond all expectations with an incredible series of achievements across all age groups.
"Playing at Wombourne, Himley Under 9s (otherwise known as the Lions) were unbeaten in all of their 16 games in winning the County U9 softball tournament.
"The Under 13s, a team that has been playing together since they were 7 years old and had 11 of its squad playing representative cricket, went on an amazing streak – winning the U13 Worcester Cricket Board competition by nine wickets, finishing runners-up in the Reg Barber Memorial Trophy, finishing Worcester Cricket Board Premier League runners-up – being crowned Midlands Champions after beating Dunstall (Derbyshire), Ombersley (Worcestershire) and Whitchurch (Shropshire) in the regional final and thus representing Staffordshire in the ECB National Competition.
"Beating Whitchurch in the regional final earned entry into the Finalists National Competition held at the Shrewsbury School, where Himley's Under 13s finished a very creditable fourth out of the 1,700 entrants who started the competition.
"Himley's Under 15s chipped in by finishing champions of the Worcester Cricket Board Northern League, beating Rushwick by 72 runs in the League Cup Final at Feckenham, having reached the final by winning every one of their games in the North Division.
"Himley's Under 16s kept up the good work too, finishing champions of the North Worcester League and going on to beat Beacon Cricket Club and Old Elizabethans Cricket Club to become Lord's Taverners Midlands Champions.
"Individual plaudits went to Ollie Westbury, who received the North Worcestershire Under 16 Player of the Year accolade.
"Completing a really special 2013 season, Himley's Under 17s finished runners-up in the Worcester Cricket Board Cup, making sure that the club had competed in all competitions, across all age groups.
"In addition to the trophies and silverware, 36 boys and girls played representative cricket, two making Worcester First Class Academy, one making the England Performance Programme and two juniors reaching the last 24 for national squads.
"All in all, it represents a fantastic achievement, a credit and testament to the coaches, helpers and parents who put in a tremendous amount of time in keeping Himley Cricket Club very much in safe hands."
Mark tells us that Himley are actively looking for future stars, junior coaching by ECB qualified and CRB checked coaches is available across all age groups. They will have eight sessions on the following dates but at different locations.
Sessions take place on February the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th.
And throughout March on the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th.
Under 9s and 10s will be at the Evolve Building, Dudley College, from 6.30pm till 8.00pm. Under 11s, 12s and 13s will be at Ellowes Hall School, 7.00pm till 8.30pm.
Under 14s,15s and 16s will be at the Evolve Building, Dudley College, from 8.00pm till 9.30pm
You can visit the club's website at: www.himleycc.co.uk if you would like further details.