Cricket captains from Balderton, Collingham and Southwell offer insight ahead of South Nottinghamshire League openers
Captains of the district’s highest-ranked cricket clubs believe the upcoming season will provide a tougher test than usual.
Tim Clipsham, Balderton Cricket Club’s first team captain, said Division A of the South Nottinghamshire League looked stronger than ever.
Clipsham’s side begin league action on Saturday at home to Gedling & Sherwood 1st.
“We want to finish in the top five and get into the feeder league to the Premier League, but it will be a very tough league this year,” Clipsham said.
“The division is as strong as it has ever been for me, especially looking at the some of the sides around us — but that is our aim no matter who we come up against.
“We have our oversea’s player (a batsman) still to come. He is sorting his visa and then hopefully we will be right up there.
“We have had loads of practice and some really good net sessions.
“Everybody is buzzing to be back and we want to kick it off with a big win on Saturday.”
Clipsham said despite the pandemic, interest ahead of the season reached higher levels than previous years.
“We have had lads from Bottesford and a couple of other new signings (for the firsts) so it should be interesting,” he said.
Ollie Dyson, first team captain of league and district rivals Collingham, said everybody at the club were buzzing to get started.
“We have a fantastic group and we have been training together for a good four weeks now,” said Dyson.
“In that time we’ve had two warm-up matches, which have proved to be really good run outs and really useful for finding out where we’re at.
“There is a really good vibe among everybody at the club, we are all close friends and with the addition of Mohammad Mohsin (the club’s professional) things are looking good.
“It a long season, but we are hopeful of a top half finish.”
Like Clipsham, Dyson said he also felt the league looked toughen than ever this term.
“When I look at it, there aren’t any weak teams,” he said.
“In years gone by you might have looked at a few and you were able to target them because they were slightly weaker, but there are no weak teams.
“The only second team from the Nottingham clubs is Cavaliers, who are usually around the top of the table because they are such a strong club, so I agree with Tim in that there are no easy games — it will be a strongly contested league this year.”
Dyson said Collingham felt the hit from covid, losing some players, but he also said it had helped former players regain their love for the game.
“We found that some members have found other things to do on a Saturday, whether it is golf, seeing family again, or whatever it may be, but we have also had a few who have come back to cricket after not playing for a couple of years.
“We haven’t got a team in Sunday League but our Saturday availability is good and, on the whole, availability is pretty good across the club.
“We had the best opening night in terms of junior training on Friday — more than 75 kids came down.
“It was a great success and that is something we are putting our focus on.”
Southwell, who come up against the likes of Farndon, Newark R&M, Lowdham and East Bridgford in Division D, have also seen a boom among the junior teams.
Southwell first-teamer Joe Fryer said the club hoped to continue to expand the junior side, while, on the senior of the things, he said promotion would be ideal.
“We had a good end to the season, getting through to our league’s cup final,” Fryer said.
“Although we lost to Bingham, we want to consolidate from that and we have a few new signings who will help us.
“We played Hoveringham in a friendly last week and we won comfortably, which is really good considering they are in Division C.
“We have some good youngsters coming through and there are lots of positives to take from pre-season.”
Southwell 1sts begin their campaign at Thrumpton.
League rivals Newark 1sts are also away from home, travelling to Flintham.
Farndon 1sts make it a hat-trick of away matches for the district’s clubs, travelling to Nottingham-based outfit Young Lions 1sts (1pm ).