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The Alec Hastilow Trophy

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Year: 2009
Awarded to: Liam Gately

Its hard to know where to begin with this young cricketer who joined us at 10 years old, was spotted by one of the club's adult wicket keepers who said he was a natural wicket keeper and so it has proved to be. Liam has played ever since for Olton.

Warwickshire CCC first picked him at 11 but he was in competition with others at that young age until he made the position his at 13. since then he has made his age groups wicket keeping role his at 'u14,15 and 16 and was picked for the u17's this year.

From the age of 14 he was recognized by the Midlands and was selected for winter and summer training programmes and went to the Bunbury Festival representing the Midlands at u15.

Although, he was not selected for the England squad from that festival his talent had been observed and he has been asked to attend the England Academy at Loughborough since so that they can monitor his progress and development. I know Warwickshire and Midland coaches think highly of him.

He has played for Olton's age group sides and was part of the u13 team which were county Champions and County Cup winners, this same side at u15 when he was only 14 playing a year above his age, won the u15 Premier League and got to the last eight of the Portman Cup.

In Olton's senior sides he played just a few games as wicket keeper when he was 12 in the Sunday 3rd XI. When he got to 14 he was playing regularly 2nd XI matches and made his breakthrough last year into the clubs first XI where he has played ever since.

Unfortunately, as with a lot of wicket keepers captains can't always decide where to bat them, and Liam's experiences as a batsman are rather limited having batted for the 1st XI only 3 times in 2008 and nine times in 2009 but in all games last year he scored 428 runs. He got his chance to open the batting in a pre season friendly and scored his maiden century- a massive 150 not out just to prove he can bat, whilst in the final league match of the season his 30 at number eight kept Olton & WWCC in the BDPCL.

But it is for his wicket keeping he is in our club sides. 24 1st XI league victims in 2008 aged 15 and 19 in 2009 in fewer games because of Midlands call ups. For Warwickshire he has had 15 victims at u14, 18 at u15 but a miserable season for the u16 because of poor weather conditions with just 3 victims.

Liam is a fantastic lad, modest and most unassuming and the whole of Olton & WCC would tell you that there is no-one more deserving than him in the whole of our youth set up.

Finally, it would be great if the Alec Hastilow could honour a wicket-keeper, a player who can lift a whole side by his presence at the stumps yet so often ignored because so many awards go to batsmen or bowlers.