Bassetlaw cricket back with a bang - local club captains preview the 2015 season

Clumber Park v Retford at Clumber Park. Retford batsman Mark Bull
Clumber Park v Retford at Clumber Park. Retford batsman Mark Bull

The cricket season starts with a bang this weekend, as Worksop and Retford do battle in the Bassetlaw derby.

Central Avenue skipper Conor Smith takes a somewhat depleted squad into the first game, but hopes to improve on last season’s fifth place finish.

“We’ve got four guys missing for the first game, but hopefully we can do ourselves justice, get a positive result and be back to full strength for the second game.”

“Our aim is midtable again and maybe push up into third or fourth.”

Clumber Park’s new captain Alistair Skinner, meanwhile, is determined to push for promotion into the Championship.

The addition of players from Bridon and Firbeck, and a positive pre-season, give him cause for optimism.

“Things are going well, we’ve had winter nets and started outdoor training,” he said.

“We have a couple of new recruits which should make us a little bit stronger than last year.”

The 2014 season saw Clumber miss out on promotion by 50 points, making them even more determined ahead of the new campaign.

“The aim is promotion, 100 per cent,” added Skinner.

Another side eyeing a finish near the top of the table are Whitwell.

They have high hopes for new overseas player Lachlan Barrett, an Australian left arm seamer and all rounder.

Captain Andrew Shaw said: “We’re looking for a top half finish, if not pushing for promotion. We’ve got a couple of new players, an overseas player and some good young lads who have come up through the youth team.”

“We’re looking stronger.”

Firbeck, meanwhile, are in a rebuilding phase and have realistic goals.

Skipper Nathan Parry said: “We lost three key players with Adam Dutton and Chris Tindle going to Edwinstowe and Tim Ward leaving.”

“We’re in the process of rebuilding and obviously I’d like to push on, but we’d like amidtable finish really.”

“Sometimes you have to be realistic.”

Division Three outfit Woodsetts have gone through a winter of change, with a number of departures.

One new face is captain Nathan Morris, who made the move from Firbeck, and although his brief is to keep the club afloat in Division Three, he’s confident they’ll do just fine.

“We should be midtable this year,” he said.

“We’ve lost quite a few players to big teams, but we’ve had quite good turnouts at nets.”

“I’ve come here for the opportunity and the challenge, to keep the team together and to keep them up, but I think we’ll do alright.”

Producing young talent isn’t a problem for Woodsetts, but rules on the age players have to reach before featuring for a senior side is hindering the club.

“We’ve got lots of juniors coming through, but the rules have changed and it’s a year too early for them, they can’t play until next year.”

Another experiencing his first season as a captain is Carl Lake at Rockware.

They too have hopes for a successful season, despite being unable to bring in much in the way of new blood, as they try yet again to escape Division Six.

“We’re optimistic,” he said. “It’s the same set of lads, the younger lads are a year older and should have improved.”

“We didn’t manage to attract the players we wanted to, but nets have gone well, we’ve had good turnouts.”

“We’ve missed out on promotion the last few years by a few points, finishing third or fourth, so hopefully we can get out of this league.”