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Josh Wells confident Halstead Cricket Club can be fighting at the top end of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship once again, despite loss of Chris Huntingdon

Halstead Cricket Club captain Josh Wells feels his side can build on last year’s third-placed finish in Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Division One this season, despite defeat against Chelmsford in their last pre-season friendly, writes Callum Hansey.

Wells’ side were unconvincing as they slumped to defeat against the Sheppard Neame Essex Premier League side at Star Stile, Chelmsford (290-6) beat Halstead (157-9) by 133 runs.

Despite that loss, Wells is optimistic that his side can improve on their last campaign.

Captain Josh Wells in action for Halstead against CoggeshallPicture: Roger Cuthbert (8703987)
Captain Josh Wells in action for Halstead against CoggeshallPicture: Roger Cuthbert (8703987)

“Last season was a big improvement on previous years, and shows we are making great progress,” he said.

Saturday’s season opener at Woolpit (12.30pm) will mark the start of Wells’ fifth season as captain, and last year’s second highest run scorer sees no reason why his side can’t compete for the title this time around.

“The run of defeats towards the end of last season was disappointing as it pushed us out of title contention, but we have every reason to believe we can be in with a chance this year,” he said.

HCC have lost some players during the winter period, most notably highest run scorer Chris Huntington.

However, Wells sees this as a positive as it will provide opportunities for the younger players at the club to step up to the first XI.

“I hope that people like Liam Jones will be in and around the first team picture.

“It’s great to be able to make use of the juniors system and have players that have come through the club like I did,” he said.

Wells was also keen to point out the impact that new players had on the team last year, and hopes that a couple of new faces can be added to bolster the Halstead squad.

“The players we brought in last year really added to the side. Josh King and Craig Spooner both made big contributions with the bat and the ball and Josh Ruthvan also made a big impact after he returned from University,” he said.

He added: “King cleaned up at the awards evening, and has now taken on the NECL XI captaincy and also recently scored his first century for the club as part of that side.

Also, Craig Spooner will be captain of the new T20 side, so they have both really embraced what HCC is all about.”

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