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Gloucester Cricket Club looking ahead to 2019 with confidence

Gloucester > Sport > Cricket

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Monday, 31st December 2018, 09:00

Tom Collinson Tom Collinson

New year, new name for the leading cricket club in Gloucester.

As of tomorrow the top cricket club in the city will be known as Gloucester Cricket Club.

Formerly known as Gloucester City Winget, the name change is part of an ongoing process to propel the club back to the very top level in the West of England Premier League.

Club captain Tom Collinson said of the new name: “It has a bit more appeal to it.”

And Collinson, who is preparing for his second full season as captain of the club’s flagship team, is confident that the name change is just the start of better times for a club who were playing in the top flight of the WEPL just a few seasons ago.

They will be playing in the Gloucestershire Division next season after two recent relegations but Collinson is happy to be playing at that level – for now.

They played in the division last season and would have won promotion back up to Premier Two Glos/Wilts Division had it not been for a last-day collapse against Cirencester which saw them bowled out for 50 chasing 143 to win.

It meant they finished the season in third spot behind champions Frocester 2nds and Stroud, with second-placed Stroud clinching the one promotion place because Frocester’s flagship team were relegated from Premier One.

And while the way the league campaign ended was tough to take at the time, Collinson believes that it may turn out to be beneficial in the medium term.

“In hindsight I’m not too worried about it,” he said. “It was a shame it happened on the day but we didn’t win the league so we weren’t deserving of promotion.

“The division above is very strong, so it will be good to get some momentum rather than have a difficult season at the higher level.”

Not that Collinson is taking the other teams in the Gloucestershire Division for granted, far from it.

“There are some good teams,” he continued. “Rockhampton, Frocester 2nds; everyone seems to be strengthening their side.

“We always want to get promoted but you need to be worthy of a place at the higher level. You need to win 80 per cent of your games – last season we won 11 of 18 and lost to Frocester, Cirencester and Hatherley and Reddings twice.”

Gloucester’s hopes of mounting a promotion challenge in 2019 have been helped by the fact that their overseas player, Ankit Patel, is set to return again this season.

“He took 30 wickets with his off-spin and scored 500 runs,” added Collinson. “He was a big player for us last season. He plays in Sydney in the winter and was 12th man in a game in which David Warner was playing.”

Also returning for another season is coach Simon Hinks, the former Gloucestershire and Kent batsman.

“He was brilliant,” said Collinson. “We had more people at training and the training was more intense.”

Hinks, now 58, played his last first-class game as long ago as 1994 and Collinson added: “We couldn’t talk him into playing for us. We got him in the nets and one of the non-bowlers got him out, although Dave Hemmings will tell you he is a bowler!”

Clearly the players at Gloucester are able to have fun alongside the serious business of trying to win cricket matches.

The club will again run three senior teams on Saturdays with Collinson saying: “We’ve got enough players for three-and-a-half teams. The third team have got five or six Afghan lads and they love it. They’re as keen as anything and some of them are in the nets at 5 in the morning!”

And it's not just in the senior section that the club appear to be going places at a rapid rate.

"We are looking at increasing our numbers in the youth section this coming season," added Collinson.

"We are introducing All Stars Cricket for five to eight year olds on  Friday afternoons in May from 4.30 to 5.30  before youth training in the evening from 6pm to 8pm.

"We will also  be taking part in the  Chance to Shine county cricket board project  in the Hempsted and  St Peter's junior schools with two of the club's level 2 coaches - Lloyd Harrington and Ignatius Britto - coaching in these schools in April and May."

And that's not all because the club will be running three youth teams in league cricket next season - at under-11, under-13 and under-15 age groups, all with qualified coaches.

New players are always welcome at the youth nets at the Gloucester Youth Academy on Monday evenings 6pm to 7.30pm from 25th February to 15th April. Contact Lloyd Harrington at  bharrington44@googlemail.com for more information.

Gloucester play their home fixtures at the The Spa in Spa Road and Collinson said: "The ground is right in the centre of Gloucester, a short walk from the Quays and our bar is always open to anyone who wants to come down and watch on a Saturday afternoon."

 The club are also looking for sponsors for the next season – particularly a shirt sponsor – and anyone interested should contact Dave Hemmings at Dhemmingsgcw@gmail.com

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