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Exciting season ahead as Oakham look to widen their community reach

Richard Martin.
Richard Martin.

Oakham Cricket Club president Nick Begy is predicting an exciting season for the Lime Kilns outfit who are looking to widen their reach in the community.

The Rutlanders start their Leicestershire League Division One campaign on Saturday with a home match against Sileby Town 2nds after the start of the season was delayed following the recent weather.

And Begy in his new role as president feels there is heightened enthusiasm at the club who will be fielding three adult teams as well as a highly-successful youth section.

Begy said: “This is an exciting year for Oakham Cricket Club. The ground, despite the weather looks fantastic, and the new revamped pavilion is a triumph.

“In my new role of president, I’m looking to widen our reach into the community, both through community engagement, sponsors, parents and supporters.

“We have a great deal to offer and, as with a lot of things in life, it is about marketing and communicating about our great club and building on our strong foundations.

“One key is to make juniors and parents feel part of what the club is about. We have great plans and opportunities both on and off the field.”

The first team will again be skippered by Richard Martin and they will be aiming to rise up the Division One rankings after finishing ninth from 12 teams last term.

They have lost the services of last year’s star performer Wes Durston for the majority of the first half of the season, but have recruited former Sleaford skipper and all-rounder Shaun Morris.

Morris will team up with Charlie Baker and Ed Tattersall to provide a very strong seam attack that is available throughout the season.

Vivek Naker makes an unexpected return to the Lime Kilns to strengthen the top order and seasoned veteran Sean Cowley will take the number three spot and provide the spin option.

Martin commented: “We should enjoy a much-improved start to the season with far better player availability from the off compared to last year.

“We should be looking to position ourselves in the top half of the division by the halfway point and then push hard in the second half as players such as Albert Radford and Wes become available.

“Calvin Flowers, who missed the 2017 season through injury, is a possible addition to the side in the latter stages of the season, although he will be a great asset to the players throughout the year in his capacity as team coach.

“As captain, I believe this is the strongest outfit that have taken the field at the Lime Kilns since our entry into the Leicestershire League and I expect a great improvement on last year.”

Aside from the junior and Saturday teams, Oakham will be entering a team into the Rutland League on Sundays and the newly-revamp Rutland T20 competition.

Their successful junior programme is also introducing a number of improvements by working with Tom Flowers Cricket Coaching and Chance to Shine to establish stronger links with local primary schools.

Chairman Neil Southern explained: “All coaching has moved to Friday evenings from 5-8pm, creating a new opportunity for local families to start their weekend by enjoying the club’s excellent cricket facilities and newly-redecorated bar and pavilion.

“Bathed in glorious sunshine, upwards of 75 children and their parents enjoyed the first Friday evening session a week ago.”

As part of the revamp, for the first time this year Oakham Cricket Club will be delivering the ECB’s All Stars programme for five-eight-year olds who have little or no previous experience of cricket.

This eight-week course will also take place on Friday evenings, from 5-6pm, starting on Friday, May 11.”

If anyone is interested in finding out more about any of these junior cricket initiatives, please contact Neil at neilsouthern57@hotmail.com

Oakham ran out winners by seven runs in a friendly with Ketton Sports – who are playing in Division Four East of the Leicestershire League this season – on Saturday.

Oakham were dismissed for 135 with Naker (24) and Ed Tattersall (44) their top scorers while Peter Rowe returned 4-29 for Ketton.

Rowe (23), Tom Sole (62no) and Zeeshan Manzoor (22) top scored in Ketton’s reply, but they fell just short as Graeme North grabbed 3-16 and Sean Cowley claimed 3-11 while wicket-keeper Chris Larsen landed three stumpings and a catch.

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