An interview with 2nd XI Captain
Hi Greg, you’re about to start your 7th season as captain of the 2nd XI, how has the job changed over the years?
It’s certainly got easier, the last couple of seasons in the Northern League the main challenge wasn’t on the field it was trying to find 11 players week in week out. Trying to sell long trips up the M6 every other weekend proved difficult to some of the younger contingent.
The move to the Lancashire League in 2017 revitalised not just the 2nd team but the club as a whole. Playing against local clubs has brought plenty of players back into the fold and allowed us to be a lot more competitive and as a result that makes captaincy easier.
You won the double in your first season in the Lancashire League, how special was that?
It was the perfect season, we only lost one game!
That season was probably the only time that we have managed to select a consistent team and it showed on the field, everyone knew their role. At the start of every season I always challenge the lads to win us at least 1 game each with a match winning moment, that season I think everyone achieved that and more, the team spirit was fantastic.
Winning the final game of the season by 2 runs, in the last over, to clinch the title is something I’ll never forget. Throughout the season whenever it got tight, we found a way of winning, we chased down 200+ a couple of times and beat Burnley, who finished 2nd, in the last over twice, which showed how much character the team had.
Is it tricky to find a balance between being competitive, but also bringing through younger players?
I think that’s the unique thing about 2nd team cricket, you get a mixture of players from those on their way down from 1st team cricket, 2nd team stalwarts and young lads who are the future of the club.
Each team needs a mixture of the 3 and the balance between giving opportunity and trying to win games can sometimes be tricky. In addition, we all work all week to enjoy our cricket, so there’s a duty to make sure everyone gets as much opportunity to play their part as possible.
We’re fortunate at the moment that we have a core group of experienced players who are well positioned to not only advise the younger lads but also take pressure off those making their way in the game by leading by example. One of the best ways to learn as a young cricketer is by learning from the experience of your team mates.
How are you enjoying the Lancashire League?
Since we joined it been a breath of fresh air, the win/lose element makes for more aggressive cricket, whilst the locality of the grounds is obviously a bonus.
The two-division format has also been brilliant, every game now means something and teams are more equally matched, making for competitive cricket.
The standard of the second team league is also very strong, with many of the teams capable of giving some first teams a run for their money.
Who do you tip for a big season in 2020?
When we do get some cricket, it will be a good opportunity for everyone to play pressure free. With no promotion or relegation this year it’s a chance to experiment with team selection.
After impressing last year I’m expecting Olly Brindle and Jordan Shaw to make an impact at 2nd team level, whilst JP will hopefully rediscover his run scoring touch.
I’d also like to see some of our team pushing for regular spots in the 1st XI, with Tobi Ramwell well placed to do so.
With the current uncertainty around the start of the 2020 Season, how are you keeping active?
I’m doing plenty of walking, managing 5-6 miles a day, we’re fortunate to live in an area with so many walking routes and so many places to explore.
It’s ironic that the weather has been perfect for cricket, no doubt if and when we do get on the field it will be freezing cold and wet.
The club WhatsApp group has also been great for morale during lockdown, with the nightly quiz a particular highlight.