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Darren’s determination pays off

The red and white halved shirts of the hockey club descended on the clubhouse as the 2015 season drew to its grand finale on Saturday.

A mixed season but triumph at the end as the first team walloped Godmanchester in the play off and returned to the top flight of club cricket.

The East Anglian Premier League is widely regarded as one of the best in the country, with ex-internationals, current county players and numerous minor county players all on show. In 2016 this will be on your doorstep and all for free.

It was fitting that captain Darren Batch should be the man to win it, in trouble at 70-3, Darren entered a 170-run partnership with Akeal Hosein, setting the visitors 297.

Akeal and Tom Huggins then turned the screw, bowling spin in tandem to simply strangle the Cambs League winners into submission.

Darren puts a lot of his time into the club and was desperate to return to the Premier League after the dramatic finish to the 2013 season when we were relegated, and his determination showed in a classy captain’s knock.

Akeal Hosein flew home on Wednesday, but made such an impact at the clubs this year (cricket and nightclub) that I think he will be back for 2016 - and we would welcome him.

For a young man he is levelheaded and intuitive. Combine that with a good slice of cricket ability and you have the making of a fine overseas coach.

Talking of flying off, Billy Moulton Day, Ben Reece and James O’Brien are all off to sunnier spots, heading to the Australasian continent to cause trouble and improve skills - best of luck to them.

The first team promotion, we think has saved the third team although this is not yet certain . If so then one disappointment is avoided, but there were also other difficult moments in the season.

The second team’s relegation from Two Counties Division Two means they sit three leagues under the first team, as opposed to this year when it was just one.

On the positive side, it will be the chance for youngsters to shine as Division Two proved a step too far, too early for some of them at times.

But I just hope the old adage of ‘you should be scoring a hundred every week, or taking five wickets every week to move up’ is not used next year.

As we know cricket doesn’t work like that, and instead a sensible approach to selection needs to be put in place to ensure our youngsters progress and those who are able and willing get the chance to play against the best in our region.

The other challenge this year was Sunday cricket, Billy Moulton-Day managed to keep the first team in Hunts County Bats Division One, but the seconds had to be pulled from the league.

The groundstaff will now loam and treat the pitch ready for winter. Without doubt the pitches continue to improve and this year we had three Saturday games where more than 600 runs were scored, credit indeed to Dave Oakes and Andy Dodds.

All that is left, is for us to add up the accounts, cheer on the winter sports clubs in the area and ensure the club is in a fit and ready position for 2016 at the AGM in November. Winter well and keep fit, 2016 will have much to offer.

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