STRATFORD Cricket Club have signed ten new players in preparation for the new season.
The management team at the club have been busy over the winter, particularly on the recruitment front, adding strength in depth to their three league sides.
After last season’s promotion, head of senior cricket, Ed Cunynghame, says the additions were vital to keep the club on the front foot.
Cunynghame said: “The club has experienced a noticeable upswing in the quality of cricket played over the last two years.
“With promotion last season, it’s key we bring in additional quality players if we’re going to maintain this positive momentum.”
Among the new faces spectators will see at Swans Nest Lane this year are a crop of top-order batsmen. John Price, who played for Stratford before spending a two-year spell at Knowle and Dorridge, returns to the club. David Bailey, a classy left-handed bat, joins from Leamington, and Perry Derrick, an all-rounder from Redditch CC, have both impressed at winter training and are expected to play a big part for the Panthers this season.
In addition, Evesham-based Andy Fisher, another promising batsman, joins from Eastnor CC. Once again, the club will be hosting an overseas player.
Yasser Parker, a 24-year-old Zimbabwean, who has played for the Mashonaland Eagles franchise, will be looking to make his mark with the bat, and sharing his cricketing experience as part of the coaching team.
The long-term strength of the club is reliant on blooding fresh young talent and Stratford have also signed three promising youngsters in Sam Cooper, Archie Walker and Tom Whitting.
Batsman Cooper joins from Kineton CC, seamer Walker makes the switch from Shipston CC, while Whitting, who finished his studies at Winchester College last summer, returns to the country after a four-month stint playing cricket in Australia.
Stratford have also been boosted by two players relocating to the area, with batsman Jamie Carter and seamer Harry Williams signing on.
Local lad Matt Dutton, who is a key member of the Cotswold Complete Cricket coaching team, will bolster Stratford’s playing and coaching ranks and also provide a solid link for junior players looking to step up into the seniors.
The first-team squad recently held a pre-season training camp at the National Cricket Performance Centre at Loughborough, hosted and run by Andy Flower, who has been coaching at the club for the past two seasons.
“We had full access to all the facilities, and were able to put in place some solid planning for the coming season,” added Cunynghame.
If you are interested in joining the club, the time is right with outdoor nets due to start in mid-April.
Training sessions take place on Thursday evenings from 6pm to 8pm at the Swans Nest Lane ground. Birmingham League and Cotswold Hills League matches begin at the end of April and the start of May respectively. For further information, email stratford firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like all amateur sports clubs, Stratford Cricket Club is relying on the support of a band of volunteers to keep it running smoothly.
Cunynghame said: “We eagerly welcome any cricket enthusiasts who would like to engage with the club, whether to play, volunteer, umpire, score or simply support our senior and junior teams.”