After a long winter the cricket season officially begins this weekend with the first league fixtures of the Derbyshire County League.
Matlock CC’s first eleven face a testing year in Division One while the seconds embark on an equally tough campaign in Division Six.
However, after hard work throughout the winter there is a confident atmosphere amongst an eager squad, ready for the challenge ahead.
Kevin Leatherday has taken on the role of first team captain and has led a productive indoor winter.
Speaking about the forthcoming season, Leatherday said: “ I disagree with the rumours going around that Matlock CC are going to struggle due to losing lots of players. We’ve made four decent signings to cover the players we’ve lost and the lads have worked hard and prepared well during the pre-season.
“It’s a great chance for the players to step up and prove that they have what it takes and I’m confident that we can hold our own in Division One.”
Those signings include opening bowler Chris Pemberton and 20-year-old Vasilli Orros, a South African all-rounder who featured in the South Africa under 19s last season.
With Matlock’s own Derbyshire and England U17 wicket keeper Harvey Hosein keen to play when available, they should prove a very capable trio.
The exciting prospect will be expected to enhance the ‘home-grown’ squad that will form the core of the team.
Many players have been promising over previous seasons but this year those players will be expected to turn their potential into performances on the field, crucial if the club is to succeed.
This progression looks to be underway as Matlock claimed a victory over Wirksworth & Middleton CC with a strong team performance in the pre-season friendly.
Paul Chadbourne will captain the second eleven for another year as they aim to stay in Division Six.
Once again this could depend on promising young talent assisting established players.
Ed Blackburn, Rory Blackshaw, Phill Braund and Rhiann Shan have worked hard and looked impressive training with the first team over the winter, and will be aiming establish themselves as key players over the next few months.
As well as the various movements in the playing squads, president Clarry Hill and groundsman Dave Ramsden have defied the elements to make the ground look immaculate in the lead up to the first game.
The firsts will begin their campaign with the visit of Duffield to Causeway Lane on Saturday, whilst the seconds will have to wait a week until April 26 when they start with a trip to Marehay thirds.