Caistor Town Cricket Club are eagerly looking forward to the start of the 2014 season, which will get underway next month, having already acquired the services of a number of promising young players during the close season, including 22-year-old New Zealand batsman/wicketkeeper Lane Tutty.
This winter, Lane, who is based in Christchurch, earned a regular place playing Premier Grade cricket for Old Boys Collegians CC, who are the current NZ National Club Champions and who include New Zealand international players Todd Astle and Corey Anderson, who earlier this year scored 100 in just 36 balls against the West Indies, to break the ODI fastest century record, in their ranks.
Last season, Lane, in his first experience of playing in the UK, played a starring role for Yorkshire club Helperby CC where he scored almost 800 runs at an average of 46, including two centuries.
His undoubted skills as a batsman will significantly enhance the Wolds club’s batting line-up and his glovemanship will take some of the pressure off the club’s youngest ever 1st XI captain, 20-year-old skipper Gareth Johnson, who will, as a result, be able to concentrate on leading the side and focusing on scoring runs.
Caistor’s batting line-up will be further enhanced by the return of highly regarded batsman Dominic Bishop, a regular junior County selection, who spent 2013 playing in the ECB Premier League for 2012 ECB Premier League champions Haxey, and all-rounder Rory Ronaldson, who impressed in 2013, scoring over 600 runs in the East Yorkshire Alliance for East Halton.
Bishop’s useful left arm spin and Ronaldson’s lively medium pace will also add to Caistor’s highly regarded bowling attack, which will be further enhanced by former Grimsby Town fast bowler Sean Woolley, who has joined the club in 2014 after being a consistent performer in the ECB Premier League for the last two years, and whose height and pace means he is ideally suited to exploit the Brigg Road headquarters bouncy tracks.
1st XI captain Gareth Johnson said: “There is a real buzz at the club this season and we can’t wait for it to get underway.
“Lane, whose stay in the UK is a direct result of the support offered by local company Cherry Valley, who will be providing employment for him during the summer.
“Dominic, Rory and Sean are all high profile signings which will bring real competition for places in the 1st XI. Myself and Vice Captain Paul Dimbleby, have been able to build a 1st XI squad, rather than just scrape a team together, which results in having real strength in depth in both batting and bowling disciplines.
“As a result, all four of the club’s senior sides will benefit from this, and we will be practising hard over the next few weeks, looking forward to the 2014 season with real optimism and a realistic chance of bringing some silverware to the club.”
That optimism is also present within the club’s Cricket Academy, who are supported by Paul Wiseman Electricals, the students of which have been working hard throughout winter under the expert guidance of highly respected local coach Neil Wheeler.
The Academy sides, who will be competing at Under 11, Under 13 and Under 15 levels are well prepared for the coming season and will once again feature a large number of girls.
Caistor’s reputation for developing youngsters, which has helped earn them their ECB Focus Club status, is well known in the area, with two of its former junior players, Wayne Noon and Guy Welton, going on to play County Championship cricket for Nottinghamshire, and a significant number of players featuring regularly every season in Lincolnshire junior representative sides.
The club’s former Sri-Lankan star Sahan Wijerathne, who was part of the club’s line-up for four seasons was a huge influence in the development of young spin all-rounders Kieran Brooker, Harry Capstick and Ollie Barrick, all of whom played regular junior county and senior club cricket last year in the club’s first, second and Sunday sides, regularly taking wickets and scoring runs.
Club Chairman David Gowshall said: “The depth of young talent available now to the club’s selectors is Sahan’s legacy, and is undoubtedly the best it has been for many years.
“The nucleus of the team has been built over the last three years, with last year, the first without Sahan since 2009, being very much part of the learning process for those youngsters.
“The team, one of the youngest to represent the club for many years, responded well to the added responsibility last season and we are expecting the experience gained to result in a greater level of consistency this year, enabling Gareth Johnson’s men to mount a real challenge for honours.
“The 1st XI batting line-up, led by opener Harry Boulton, who had an outstanding season in 2013, has been added to by securing Lane’s services and some quality home grown signings and, as a result, we are looking forward to 2014 with a real sense of optimism.
“The impact of the new signings and, of equal importance, the retention of all of last year’s players, will create competition for places right through the club, with the result that every senior team within the club will be able to field improved line-ups.”
Gowshall added “If you are an ambitious local cricketer, pondering your options right now wondering if the time is right to try out a new club for 2014, come and try Caistor Town Cricket Club.
“The club’s senior and Academy pre-season practice sessions are underway at Caistor Yarborough Academy and will continue right up to the start of the season and anyone is welcome to just come along or ring me on 07815 120949 for details”.
The club’s season will get underway on Sunday April 13 when a Caistor Town CC side will take on the Chairman’s XI at Brigg Road, with the first Lincolnshire League games for the 1st and 2nd XI taking place the following Saturday April 19.