Tynedale and Ponteland in full swing
Last updated at 09:53, Friday, 25 April 2014
FIELDING one of the youngest teams in the division, Tynedale will use the 2014 season as a springboard for a title challenge in the coming years.
The team of talented youngsters are aiming to improve on their eighth place in the Northumberland and Tyneside Senior Cricket A1 League, gaining experience as they go along.
Again captained by 23-year-old Tom Cant, Tyne again have turned to youth with the exciting news that Australian Akash Fotedar (21) will join the club as professional for the upcoming season.
Opposition teams will fear his pace as he finished fourth in the national final of Australia’s Top Gun Fast Bowling Competition – a search for the country’s fastest bowler.
After winning his heat in Perth with a recorded speed of 134km/h, he was fourth overall when he beat that with 136km/h in Sydney.
Fotedar plays for Perth Cricket Club in the city’s premier cricket competition, the WACA District Competition, playing either first or second grade.
Making his first grade debut in 2012/13, his first over ever bowled was against Australian international Simon Katich!
But his name is not the only addition to the Tynedale ranks, with fellow youngsters Callum Barnes and Dean Owen, from Consett and Burnopfield respectively, strengthening the squad, as will Tim Raglan, from Allendale, after spending the winter playing in New Zealand.
The quartet brings the average age of the team to one of the youngest around, Tynedale’s opening batting pairing of John Meadows (20) and Connor Fellowes (19) the perfect example of this.
But there are experienced heads in there to guide them too, veterans Richard Darling and David Newton remaining at the club, while Jamie Crichton and Ben Maxted have plenty of years of cricket behind them as well.
Newly appointed club chairman Gary Cant (49), a stalwart of the Priors Flat club having joined when he was just six years old, is looking forward to bringing on the young side.
He said: “It is good to have a good mixture of young talent, but these are youngsters who have played senior cricket for a long time.
“If you look at the table last year, we finished eighth but there was only one game between us and fourth and our weakness was that we couldn’t finish teams off.
“But hopefully we should be able to this time with Akash as he will be able to finish the tail off.
“We are looking to improve on last year and I think we should be targeting a place in the top four.
“If we keep this group of lads together, then I genuinely think we will be a very, very good team in a couple of years time as they get a bit more experience.”
While still setting their sights on a top half finish, Tynedale will be aiming for a number of cup runs this year.
They became known as the cup specialists in 2011 and are hoping to match their excellent achievements three years on.
Cant said: “We still want to be better in the league, but with us being such a young side I think our strengths this year will be in cup cricket as the players are fit and athletic.”
Tynedale start their season with a trip to Annfield Plain tomorrow, with two home encounters with Burnopfield and arch rivals Shotley Bridge following.
Meanwhile, after entertaining former England international Steve Harmison at their recent sportsman’s dinner, Ponteland go into the new season full of inspiration.
The recently retired North-East cricketing hero was special guest at the event, and his appearance has put the club in good spirits ahead of the upcoming season opener.
Their return to Division A1 last season was a happy one as they finished seventh out of the 12 teams in the higher division.
They made a rip roaring start to the season and were up with the top teams in the early half of the term as they surprised a few opponents along the way.
While their form dropped off towards the end, they still finished in a creditable midtable position and are looking to continue with their improvement.
For 2014, Wayne Ritzema remains as skipper while Chris Morgan’s captaincy of the second team is still in place.
The first team face a tough start as they make the trip to Swalwell, champions for the past seven years, tomorrow, followed by a home game with perennial title challengers Shotley Bridge.
Following their championship winning year last term, Tynedale II mark their return to Division B1 with a home game with Annfield Plain II.
Ponteland's second string, meanwhile, play host to Swalwell's equivalent.
First published at 09:24, Friday, 25 April 2014
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk