matlock Cricket Club 1sts set out on their bid to regain their Derbyshire Premier League status on Saturday with “potentially the best side we’ve had here during my time with the club.”
That’s the opinion of club captain – and first team captain – Steve Pell, ahead of his side’s first match in the Derbyshire County League Division One campaign, away to Clifton this weekend.
Last season, Matlock finished fifth. They also won the Orme Shield and got to the finals of three cup competitions before losing all of them.
This season, the focus is once again on gaining promotion to the Premier League with cup success also on the list of potential achievements for the team.
Out of last year’s first team, Andy Rogers, Nick Rosling, Minesh Keshwala and Eddie Lowe will not be around, for a variety of reasons, but the club has re-signed Matt Cluer – a member of the Matlock side that played in the Premier League in 2010 – and has also attracted Mark Stokes over from the Staffordshire Premier League, but the identity of the overseas player is still somewhat unclear.
Steve Pell explained: “Despite all our best intentions with the overseas player, we have run into some visa problems and could be in the same position as last season, where we were without an overseas player – again due to visa issues – for the first few weeks.
“So we are exploring avenues to mitigate against any impact the lack of an overseas player might have on the first few weeks and we are hoping to have someone in place to cover for the first few games until the overseas situation is resolved.
“That’s because we had a similar situation last year and it was a couple of games before Burton De Wett was in place and we ended up playing catchup in the league, to a certain extent.
“We were desperate to get back in the Premier League but felt that the slow start was costly. Obviously, our main aim is promotion again and we hope to get off to a better start, with or without an overseas player.
“Last season, we set our stall out to get back to the Premier League and along the way we won the Orme Shield and also entered three league cup competitions where we got to final of all three, so we achieved a quite a lot.
“This year, we will look for more of the same, plus promotion, and, on paper, I feel we have the best team here since I came to the club in 2004 so the potential really is there.
“You could say we have half a team of very experienced players and half a team of very inexperienced players.
“With the likes of Kevin Leatherday, Pete Camm, John Aspinall, Matt Cluer, me and Mark Stokes, we have real experience of this level and the young lads have now had a season in the firsts under their belt, they have netted really well, and they have the talent to go with that extra experience, so we feel that an exciting season is in store and we hope there will be a positive outcome at the end.”