Last summer was a sobering one for Park. A decline in player availability led to the 4s dissolving, while the 2s and 3s were both relegated to the third tier of their respective leagues.
But during an off-season in which coping with transition has been the priority, there are many reasons for optimism in 2018.
The league season began last weekend, as the 3s won, while the 1s and 2s succumbed to defeats.
Ahead of the second round of league fixtures, the three Saturday captains and Academy skipper Oscar King spoke about their ambitions for the summer.
1s – Scott Kent, batsman
After Rob decided to step down, the core of the 1s (or as the Aussies would say: “leadership group”) met up and spoke about where we think the club is heading, and what direction we want to go in. I put my name in the hat and suggested my ideas and what I thought was right for the team.
My main belief is that new faces are needed in the team; it’s important that young players are playing in the 2s to bridge the transition to the 1s, as most of the current players won’t be playing in five years.
It may take a year to identify the players we need to get ready for the jump, but it needs to be done. I’m really looking forward to seeing new faces get a good run in the team and showing they can play at the level.
Build a solid team who plays confidently. Stay up!
2s - Travis Scott, all-rounder
Drive to retain captaincy
I think we need to show that we, as a team, are better than our performances last season suggested – it feels like a case of unfinished business. We have a number of leaders and some very talented players in the squad, so I’m confident we will turn things around this season.
Areas for improvement
We lacked in-game management and turned winning positions into losses on a regular basis. We need to take our chances more regularly this summer, be it with the bat, ball or in the field.
Enjoy ourselves, be competitive and spend the season looking up the table and not over our shoulders. I’m also hopeful some of the younger guys will take their opportunities with some regular contributions and establish themselves in the senior set up.
3s – Matt Saunders, batsman
Stepping up from 4s to 3s
I believe I am ready to make the step up to 3s captain. With how the 4s’ season turned out, last year I stood in as 3s skipper a few times and did well in winning most of those games.
Areas for improvement
We need to have a consistent core to the side; 5 or 6 players who are there every week. If that materialises, then everyone will know their roles better.
Avoid relegation and develop some colts into becoming capable senior cricketers!
Sunday Academy – Oscar King, wicket-keeper-batsman
Second term as skipper
I wanted to maintain the captaincy because I believe the Academy is a project that needs consistency and familiar faces for the youth, as they progress through the teams.
The Academy is one of the best platforms for colts to break into adult cricket, so it’s important for them to feel comfortable. I think having stalwarts in the squad and the same captain for a few years will bring the best out of them.
It’s extremely important for the future of the club. Being an effective way of introducing adult cricket to colts, the Academy prepares younger players for a high standard of cricket, helping the colts’ progression towards competing for spots in the 1s and 2s.
The main target for the academy in my head is, and has always been, to provide a platform for the younger players in the club to heighten their skills, with the goal to progress into adult cricket.
Having been drawn a considerably tough group this year in the Surrey Trust League, the goal is to see improvements in skill and great individual and team performances against strong opponents, but ultimately have fun whilst playing!
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