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Gloucester City Winget captain Tom Collinson is in upbeat mood ahead of new season

Gloucester > Sport > Cricket

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Wednesday, 25th April 2018, 09:00

Tom Collinson has big ambitions for Gloucester City Winget Tom Collinson has big ambitions for Gloucester City Winget

Tom Collinson is a man in a hurry. Gloucester City Winget’s relatively new captain is in a hurry to get his club back up to the level he thinks they should be playing.

Relegation from the Gloucestershire/Wiltshire Division of the West of England Premier League last season hit the club hard, especially as it was not so long ago that they were playing in Premier One.

Collinson took over as skipper two-thirds of the way through the 2017 campaign, taking over from Scott Montgomery.

And although he won his first three games in charge, he lost the final three, which was enough to send the club down into the Gloucestershire Division.

Now he’s plotting the fightback, although he admits that in many ways this season will be unknown territory for himself and the club.

“I don’t really know what to expect,” he said, “but anything below third place would be an absolute disaster.”

Not that the club would be satisfied with third, they want promotion and that means finishing on top of the pile.

And that is something that Collinson, a 26-year-old off-spinning all-rounder, believes is very achievable.

“We should be higher than where we are,” he said.

And he’s certainly got plenty of off-field support this season, because the club have appointed former Gloucestershire and Kent batsman Simon Hinks as their head coach.

“He played for Gloucestershire Over-50s with Paul Baker, one of our club members,” said Collinson. “We got in touch with him, had a brief chat and he shares a lot of similar ambitions for the team as myself, so it was a no brainer for us.”

Collinson is also encouraged by the fact that the club have recruited Ankit Patel from Sydney, Australia.

“He is a top order batsman and will provide me with support as he also bowls spin,” added Collinson.

Taking wickets last season wasn’t the problem, it was getting enough runs on the board that was the issue.

And Collinson is confident that Montgomery, who is also the team’s wicketkeeper, will be back among the runs in a big way this season.

“He’s always our top run scorer,” said Collinson. “We need others to get more runs like myself, Craig Collinson and Dave Hemmings.”

And if that happens Collinson is confident that the bowlers will do the rest.

“Alex Nel is our spearhead and I expect him to get 40 wickets this season,” said Collinson. “He was the second or third highest wicket-taker in Glos/Wilts last season and is quite sharp.

“He bowls full and straight and gets a lot of lbw’s. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he didn’t run through a couple of sides and take seven wickets.”

Nel, a South African, has certainly made a big impact since arriving at the club.

“I think he’s the fifth highest wicket-taker in the history of the club,” added Collinson. “He’s unstoppable on his day.”

Nel has also played indoor cricket for South Africa and England, so is he any relation to former South African fast bowler Andre Nel?

“No, but a few people got a bit excited when they saw ‘A Nel’ on the teamsheet for the first time,” chuckled Collinson.

Nel will receive plenty of support from seamer Craig Collinson and the captain said of his cousin: “He hits the seam and nibbles the ball about. He’ll be a handful.”

And there are a couple more reasons why Collinson believes Gloucester’s bowling attack “will have too much” for many sides this season.

“John Brown bowls medium pace away swing and Tom Stannard bowls stump to stump,” said Collinson. “He gets the squeeze on with the wicketkeeper up.”

Collinson will also have a big part to play with the ball and he is certainly looking forward to taking on the captaincy full time.

“I’d captained the odd game before and I’d captained the midweek team so I think I was the next person in line for the job,” he said.

“I’ve known a lot of the guys for a long time and we’re all the best of friends. It can be quite difficult to exert your authority with some of the characters, but they all want the best for the team.”

And the team will be known by a different name after the end of the current campaign.

“We’re going to be known as Gloucester Cricket Club from 2019,” confirmed Collinson. “The decision was taken at our AGM.

“The new name has the feel of representing the city rather than a social club with a cricket team.”

Before the change of name comes into force, however, there is a lot of cricket to be played.

The club will be running three adult Saturday teams this season rather than four, with Collinson confident that the 2nd XI will win promotion.

There is also a thriving youth section at the club under the watchful eye of Lloyd Harrington, and Collinson added: “We’ve got some very exciting youngsters coming through.”

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Gloucester City Winget with the Abbey Business Equipment Cup

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