How do you feel about becoming captain of BECC?
It is an absolute honour. I’ve been involved with BECC since I was a child and have met some fantastic people, had some great experiences and have improved as a player and a person. The club had four XIs when I joined so it seemed like a huge club to a little boy and I never would have thought that I would be club captain one day but here we are! I would also like to say a massive thank you to our previous club captain Adam Jacobs. He gave so much to this club whilst he was at the helm and really helped to drive it forward again ultimately leading us back in to league cricket for the first time in many years. It was a pleasure to work with him as his vice captain and we have been promised (by his wife) that he will continue to be available to play many games for the club going forward which we are thrilled about.
How would you describe the general health of the club?
Well no-one has had to self isolate yet, if that’s what you mean! No seriously, I think we are in a great position, we have been back in league cricket for a couple of seasons now which is great because everyone knows that it means more than friendlies and you can see that when we are out in the middle. We have developed a large core of players who are predominantly young and many of them have improved dramatically in the past few seasons which is great to see. We also still have a number of ‘experienced heads’ which is absolutely vital in any side to pass on wisdom and knowledge and show the younger guys how to remain calm and trust your skills in certain situations. So I would say that we have a balanced squad which has been steadily growing. Of course, our priority is to enjoy our Sunday afternoons and we certainly have a lot of banter and good chat in the field which is always great to be part of!
Explain what leagues/competitions BECC will be playing in for season 2020?
We will be playing in Chess Valley Division Four (provided this virus goes away). Our fixture secretary Adam Morris has also been working tirelessly to arrange plenty of friendly fixtures as well as midweek T20 fixtures to ensure that we have a full summer of cricket from April until September. I would like to thank him for his hard work and I hope that his efforts will not be for nothing and we can get going sooner rather than later.
How are preparations coming along for the new season?
Ironically, this is the most prepared we have ever been for any season since I have been playing for this club. We have had a full programme of winter nets from November right up until this month. Unfortunately, following the announcement from the ECB, we have had to cancel the remainder of our sessions. It has been wonderful to see full nets right the way through and the enthusiasm, commitment and camaraderie from the boys has been amazing. Everyone has undoubtably improved their skills this winter and we are so keen to get out there again and show what we can do. Again, I hope everyone’s efforts will not be in vain!
Do you hope to have any new/overseas players involved?
We had several new and some returning players during last season but the big news of the winter is club legend Trevor Woolf is making a comeback. He has certainly proved that he has still got it, consistently smashing the ball everywhere in the nets but at the same time showing some of the younger boys that it is more about technique and timing rather than brute force. We are very excited to see him back in a BECC shirt once again
Of course, we still have our resident Australian Jonny Eintracht leading our bowling attack – he’s coming into his third year with us and he’s provided us with some great entertainment over the past two years, from ripping through opposition batsmen to having to sit in a clubhouse full of Englishmen during a tea break whilst watching Ben Stokes perform his Ashes miracles at Headingley last year. He’s been cranking the speed up during our winter nets and we can’t wait to see him tearing in with new ball in hand again. That being said, we’re always on the lookout for any new players. If anyone is looking for a team consisting of a great group of guys who love their cricket and play to win but with smiles on their faces, I’d love to hear from them!
Who are the ones to watch this season?
As I mentioned before, everyone has impressed during the winter and I truly believe that everyone has improved. A couple of guys are bowling really fast and people are also staking claims to move up the order with the bat. However, I think the person that has really stood out is all-rounder Josh Reynolds. He has done his best (and occasionally succeeding) to injure everyone both with the ball and when batting. His pace and accuracy are definitely up since last year and he’s hitting the ball dangerously sweetly. He missed a large chunk of last season through injury so for his sake I really hope we’re able to get the season underway sooner rather than later. If he can perform consistently throughout the season he will be a force to be reckoned with!
What would make a successful season for you?
With the current situation, I would have to say that a successful season would simply being able to play at least half of our games. If we are able to have a full season, I think this is the year that we have a real chance at pushing for promotion in the league. If we take our skills from nets into the summer, ensure that we perform consistently and support each other, then I believe that we have a real chance of doing it. And that would be huge for the club.
Are there any special anniversaries or events coming up for the club?
The club was formed in 1974 by the legend that is Ronny Palester so this year is our 46th - while I believe this in itself is a great achievement considering everything that the club has been through and is testament to all of the people over the years who have put so much into the club - there is no big anniversary yet. We are already looking forward to our 50th though. However, it is important to remember that this is our third season back in a league which is also a great achievement considering where the club was a number of years ago. Personally, I am excited to officially start my new role as club captain on the pitch so this will make the season special for me.
BECC is a great club made up of fantastic people. There is an infectious atmosphere in the squad to just play cricket together and enjoy ourselves whilst doing it. We have always had social events but generally they have been once or twice a year. The culture now really is second to none. This has been evident during the winter as we have ramped up the social side and we plan to continue this throughout this season and beyond. If you enjoy cricket and want to play in a relaxed and friendly environment where you can make new friends and improve your skills, this is the club for you!