History of Colts' Cricket at the Club

Colts Training_framed

Colts Training Evening, July 2007

The following article was kindly contributed by Julie Welham - Colts' Chair Brentwood Cricket Club, and originally published in the 2011 Lashings World XI Match Day Programme - which can also be viewed on the Club website.

Colts cricket at Brentwood has gone from strength to strength since it began in 1968 and this clearly contributes to the overall success of the club. The following gives a potted history of Brentwood CC Colts from 1968 to the present day.

1967 To 1974

While there were young members of Brentwood CC before 1968 there was no Colts cricket section and young members played only adult cricket. Most youth cricket in those days was played at school and youngsters joined a club often as a result of a school teacher having some involvement with a club and inviting one of his promising cricketers along. Brian Goodwin was one such history teacher, and as captain of the Brentwood 1st X1 he would spot talent and give youngsters a game in the 3rd XI to introduce them to the club.  Jon Coote was one of the earliest Colts and was introduced to the Club by Brian in 1967.

In 1968 the beginnings of a Colts section was formed and we played in the Trevor Bailey Shield, an Under 17 competition for Essex clubs. Under the captaincy of Nigel Hilliard we reached the final of the competition. Nigel went on to become one of the most successful bowlers in Essex League history - sadly for Colchester rather than Brentwood though and he is now chairman of Essex County Cricket Club.

The following season Jon Coote took on the stewardship of Colts cricket at the Club and we reached the final of the same competition beating Ilford.  Brentwood had a good side mainly comprising boys from Brentwood and Shenfield Schools. Charlie Bean was one of our best batsmen - he is now Deputy Governor of The Bank of England.  Richard Baker was the Colt’s wicket keeper at the time and went on to play first class cricket for Cambridge University and Essex.  Phil Dunn, another of our batsmen, was the grandson of the founder of the Brentwood Gazette. Keith Pullen and Dave Lee were also mainstays of our batting. Keith’s son, James, played for the Club in later years before giving up cricket to concentrate on career in professional football. Ken Hobbs was also in the side at this time and as many of you will know, no one has done more for youth development at Brentwood Cricket Club than Ken.

Between 1970 and 1974 the club was a little in the doldrums both in the Colts and Senior sections. There was not a regular Saturday 3rd X1 and little Colts activity. However in 1975 there was evidence that the Club was starting to realise the importance of colts cricket and for the first time the fixture card of that year refers to an annual sub for Under 15s of 50p!.  Bernard Potter was very keen to involve young cricketers in the Club at this time - with two young boys of his own he did have a vested interest. At about the same time Martin Pether joined the Club along with Rob Coote. Keith Goodman, who was a PE teacher at Hedley Walter School also ensured that we had a regular flow of young cricketers from that school. Dave Cantor, Tim Potter, John ‘Spud’ Hayto and our current web site administrator, Phil Lattimore, all joined at about that time.

1975 To 1985

This influx of young players during the mid 70’s coincided with a period of some success for the senior sides with the 1st X1 finishing 3rd in the top Essex League in 1975 and the 2nd X1 winning the league in 1976. Bernard Potter had also reintroduced 3rd X1 cricket at Brentwood and many of the young players played in that side.

However it was not until 1979 that the fixture card refers to the Club having a Colts Manager. The first incumbent was Roy Marshall. Roy lived in Brentwood but his own son played for Chelmsford so I’m not sure how he ended up as Brentwood CC’s first official Colts Manager. The Colts annual subscription in 1979 was £2.00.

It was in the second half of the 1970’s that Jon Coote became involved in managing a Colts side. As he recalls it was the U14 side and members of it that many may be familiar with. There was Gary Jones, Steve Hawke, Stuart Murray, Ian McCann and David ‘Pubic’ Eyres. Jon can’t recall the side having many fixtures but it was a decent side and Gary Jones’s talent stood out even at that tender age. Talent is usually easy to spot at a young age. 

Other youngsters he recalls cutting their cricket teeth at the Club in the late 70s were Trevor Coote, Stuart Fordham and Barry Davis. All three were classic examples of the saying ‘show me the boy at 7 (well in their case it was probably 11/12) and I’ll show you the man.’   

For those of you that know the three named individuals you will know what I mean. One of the greatest talents to emerge from this period was a young off spinner called Graham Nicholls who sadly died in a tragic accident at the age of 17.

Paul Adams took over as Colts Manager in 1980 and between then and 1986 John Hayto, Stuart Mee and John Davey all had a turn as Colts managers. During that period there was little support for Colts Managers hence the rapid turnover. 

1986 To 1995

Paul Lattimore became our Colts Manager in 1986 a post he held until 1989 and this period of continuity had real benefits for the Colts section..  Paul assembled a talented bunch of young cricketers including Ben Cocklin, Tom Davey, Paul Collier and Danny Hazle - all future first team players. So good was the team Latts put together that in the 1989 they deservedly won the prestigious Matchplay competition for the first and only time in the Club’s history to date.

The benefits of Paul’s efforts were evident in 1990 when the Club enjoyed one of its best ever seasons up until then with the 1st X1 finishing a point or so away from the Premier Essex League title, the 2nd X1 finishing 6th and the 3rd X1 easily winning their Division.

Unfortunately the club was unable to find a long term successor to Latts and between 1990 and 1994 we had three Colts Managers: Micky Davis, Graham Walker and Mark Severn. Players to emerge from this period included Gavin ‘the Artful Dodger’ Todd, Ian Belchamber, Shane Surujbally, Roger Mahadeo, Nick Farmer and Dave Murphy. The last five all played in an Under-16 side that reached the quarter final of the Matchplay competition.

1996 To 2006

The modern era of Colts cricket started in 1996 when Ken Hobbs took over as Colts Manager. For many years Ken had been a great disciple of youth development and if ever the Club needed a skipper for one of its lower elevens in which to blood the colts it was normally Ken that stepped in to the breach. He always did it with great patience, understanding and tolerance. 

He brought all of these qualities to the role of Colts Manager and he was fortunate to find a number of parents that were keen to get involved - Andy Fryd, Keith Lennon, Graham Tomlinson and Alan Apicella all stepped up in support.  In 1996 there was league and cup cricket for all of the youth age groups and, for the first time, colts fixtures were published in the Club’s fixture card. It was in that same year that Jon Coote started to get involved with the colts again as his 9 year old son joined the Club.

By 1997 colts numbers were around 45 and the Colts Committee of the day decided that we should open our own bank accounts and publish our own Income & Expenditure Account. Annual Income in that year was £1,220 and £200 was spent on coaching. The annual subscription was £30. All of the coaching was provided voluntarily by club members – some qualified coaches, some not. Most of the coaching was undertaken during the summer months.

Over the next nine years colts’ numbers grew to around 90, coaching was routinely provided both winter and summer, more and more professional coaching was provided and by 2005 annual revenue had grown to £6,415 of which nearly £4,000 was spent on coaching. During this period the colts enjoyed a number of successes with at least two cup final wins and two league championships. By 2006 the annual subscription had increased to between £50 and £60 dependant upon age.

The expansion of colts’ cricket at the Club in recent years resulted in the Club being the first in Essex to have six league sides and this strength in depth has had a knock on effect for the main club. It started with the 4th X1 winning its league on a regular basis and this success gradually filtered up through the higher elevens culminating in the success of the 1st X1. Joe Fryd, Ian Belchamber, Tim Barbone and Ben Cocklin from the 2006 1st X1 are all products of the Club’s colts system.

2007 – Present Day

At the end of the 2006 season Ken Hobbs had to move to Scotland due to work commitments and Jon Coote also decided that it was time for him to take a break.  This news was met with some trepidation at the club as both men had been such strong supporters of Colts cricket for so many years.  However Dave Barbone took over the mantle of Colts Chairman while Jon Coote remained as Treasurer.  Dave set about increasing the involvement of Colts parents.  I for one was one of a few parents who somehow found themselves in a the bar one Friday evening with Dave explaining that he wanted to involve more parents and particularly wanted to attract some female members to the committee. Jan and Steve West, Peter Lowman, Dave and I became the core committee along with managers – Ian Dawes, Phil Crook and Ian Coleman.

In Phil Crook we found a young manager for the U11s who brought a competitive approach without losing sight of the fun element – something we hope we have been able to keep going.  In Dave’s first year as Chair with the increased publicity the new committee generated along with England winning the Ashes, Brentwood Colts grew from 80 members to 160.  Our focus then had to be on increasing the number of coaches.  For the first couple of years we had to invite professional coaches from outside the club but our vision was to build a coaching pool from within our own members.  We began to fund ECB Level 1 and Level 2 coaching courses for our members as well as running Junior Young Leaders courses for those aged between 14 and 16. 

Peter Lowman increased our awareness of funding opportunities and under his leadership we were able to purchase new net facilities at the ground.  We also secured funding to increase the number of strips available and to increase the amount of coaching equipment available.  Solid partnerships with the Jack Petchey Foundation, the Youth Opportunities Fund, and awards from Biffa and Sport for All ensured that we were able to increase our spending on coaching, coaching qualifications and equipment. 

In 2009 I took over as Chair of the Colts and we now have 220 members and around 50 people on our coaching team – all from within our own club including Ben Cocklin who played in that Matchplay winning team back in 1989.  Coaching is split across two nights so that our older members can help to coach the younger age groups – all helping to provide positive role models for our younger members.  We now run eight league sides for children aged 8 – 15.  We also enter three cup sides, one in each age group at U11, U13 and U15, one U13 team into the Peter Coe side and one U16 side into the prestigious Matchplay competition.  In 2008 our U13s were District Cup and Peter Coe Cup champions and joint leaders of the U13 league.  In 2009 our U11s and U15s were League champions and we reached the Matchplay Quarter final for the first time in 20 years.  In 2010 - our best season so far - our U13s won the District Club and the Peter Coe Cup, Our U15s won the league and our U16s reached the Matchplay Final. 

We don’t stop in the winter – we train across three nights a week between January and March and we also enter local indoor leagues.  Our U15s were League champions in 2009 and 2010 and this year (2010/11) we have five Colts teams playing in local indoor leagues as well as one senior side formed mainly from the 2010 Matchplay team.  As this publication goes to print our young senior side are set for promotion to the top division of the indoor league and have reached the semi final of the cup competition.

Anyone wishing to join the colts or wanting more details should contact me on 01277 215875. Similarly anyone wishing to offer their assistance with regard to training and coaching should also contact me. Any help at any level is always greatly appreciated. We can also assist volunteers in gaining coaching qualifications.


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