HALSTEAD Cricket Club enter the 2011/12 season with an England international in their ranks in what marks a landmark moment in their history.
The signing of England Ladies star Catherine Dalton has been described as a real coup by chairman Mark Surridge, who cannot wait to see how she fares with the bat alongside her male team-mates.
Dalton, currently concluding a tour of South Africa with England Women’s Academy before joining up with Halstead next week, will start playing for the second team in the Two Counties Championship alongside Essex and Nottinghamshire cricketer Ian Pont, who was instrumental in bringing her to Star Stile.
Ahead of the first-team beginning their East Anglian Premier League campagin in Norfolk on Saturday at last year’s runners-up Great Witchingham (11am), Surridge said: “It is a very exciting departure for a club like Halstead to embrace a young lady.
“We certainly have a thriving colts side with some good young girls already and Catherine can help us continue and build on this good work.”
The East Anglian Premier League first team’s marquee signing is 20-year-old South African all-rounder Daniel Sincuba, who made his debut in a friendly with Chelmsford and has been described as an ‘exciting prospect’ with strong first-class cricket ambitions.
The Cape Town wicketkeeper, batsmen or off spinner, is hoping to play a big role in helping the north Essex side achieve another mid-table finish and quickly banish relegation fears that have led to nervy last-day finishes in the two previous campaigns.
Overseas amateur Sincuba will fill the role of an overseas professional at the club, with Surridge believing it ‘immoral’ to pay one player in a dressing room of otherwise non-paid players, though the South African will be coaching at the club.
Culford and Felsted public school captains Freddie Preston and Josh Wells, and former England Under-21 hockey player Sam Burnett — the latter previously coached by Surridge at Felsted — are also joining the side for the second half of the season, with Burnett currently undertaking barrister exams.
Surridge said: “Compared with other East Anglian Premier League clubs we are probably fielding the youngest side.
“That is a problem when you have so many boys at school or university and cannot become available until late June or early July, and by that time we are 40 per cent behind us.
“Our problem is how to get enough points early in the season but we are very happy with the situation with a young side.”
Bowler Tom Philp, regarded as one of the best in the league by Surridge, will again captain the side.