After maintaining their Division One status last term, Halstead captain Josh Wells is hoping his side can improve on last year’s 10th place finish.
The Star Stile outfit will want to start the new Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship campaign where they left off at the end of last year — having achieved half of their total wins (4) in the last nine games of the season.
And Wells is confident going into the summer knowing they will have batsman Oliver Grayson and bowler Wajahat Bukhari for the full season.
Wells said: “Grayson and Bukhari came in midway through last season and made a big difference. We will be a lot stronger knowing that we will have them for the full campaign.”
Despite only playing 11 games last term, Grayson was Halstead’s fourth highest run scorer (285 runs) while Bukhari had a steady economy rate (3.86) with the ball.
Halstead found themselves in a lot of winning positions last year but Wells said they just could not get over the line in some games.
The Halstead skipper said his side were not too far away from the teams challenging for the top spots and with three teams promoted to Division One (Haverhill, Copford and Braintree) Wells said he will be looking up the table, instead of down.
“It was very tight between the mid-table sides last year and we were still competing with top sides too, so with a good season we can definitely improve on our position from last year.”
Last season was Wells’ first year as captain after returning from Saffron Walden and even though he had a good summer with the bat (highest run scorer for Halstead with 978 runs) he knows he will be better prepared as captain for the new campaign.
“Last year I felt like I was improving as captain and for this year I am better equipped and more experienced for the season ahead.”
Wells has challenged the colts to make their mark on the first and second team squads to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Harry Pritchard, who opened the batting for the seconds last year. Pritchard scored a century (108) for the thirds before moving up to the second XI.
“We have some promising players and there are some young guys who could push the first team and the second team for a place in the squad.”
Halstead begin their Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Division One campaign at home to Mildenhall on Saturday (1pm).
The seconds, who play in Division Three, will have a new captain for their away trip to Little Bardfield (1pm) as Mark Johnson replaces Andy Rose for the season.
Johnson steps down from the first team to captain the seconds after making 18 appearances last year, averaging 21.53 with the bat.