WIDNES Cricket Club Under 15s have risen to the challenges they were set this season.
Victory in the Liverpool Echo Cup capped a successful campaign which also saw captain Billy Webb and his team win their division of the Merseyside Mid-Week League and Summer Holiday League.
This was in addition to a magnificent National Cup campaign in which they won the Merseyside District only to lose disappointingly to Chorley in the Lancashire Cup final.
However, they knuckled down over the summer holidays to retain the Echo Cup by defeating Wavertree in a tremendous final at Sandown.
Team manager Peter Hewitt said: 'During April, the Under 15s squad were told that if they showed commitment linked to their unquestionable ability, then promotion to the senior club sides was more than a possibility.
'The players have lived up to that promise and this has led to more silverware in the trophy cabinet as well as many of the squad appearing on Saturday team sheets.'
Over the season, the U15s fielded 17 players of which 10 will still be eligible next year so hopes remain high for another high-performing season.
Skipper Billy Webb and deputy Ben Williams have shown outstanding leadership in 2006.
Hewitt added: 'The addition of Alex Duckers from Sankey with his all-round ability and the harnessing of Chris Travis's raw pace made a massive difference to the bowling strength - often just too much for other sides to cope with.
'Eddie Barwise's opening bowling consistency was well supported by the spinning department of Jack Webb, Tom Mitchell and Jamal Khojani.
'The debate is still going strong among the youngsters of who did the
most damage - pace or spin?
'However, the coaches all agree not many senior sides will face spin of such a high standard, never mind 15-year-olds.'
Hewitt added: 'The fielding of Gareth Yandell, Chris Travis and Simon Cashmore was always top quality and the same three often scored quick runs when needed.
'The team has many true all-round-ers such as Jamie Clare, Jack Webb and, of course, Alex Duckers, but the opening partnerships of Ben Williams and Billy Webb often meant opposition sides were already facing large totals before the first wicket had fallen.'
Williams's season was crowned when he deservedly received the top
U14s batsman prize at the Cheshire Youth Cricket presentations.
Hewitt added: 'Youngsters Carl Pierce, James Hammell and Adam Catterall all contributed ably to the cause this year and the club holds high expectations of those three youngsters to help maintain the 2006 achievements.'