Howzat: Ardleigh Green CC look to rebuild in Essex League
PUBLISHED: 09:00 02 May 2016
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Captain Chris Cook staying positive after relegation
Ardleigh Green find themselves in the bottom division after suffering three relegations in the space of four short years, but captain Chris Cook is looking on the bright side.
The Central Park club won an Essex League Premier Division and cup double under previous skipper Roy Smith in 2007 and went close to the title again a year later, but have suffered a fall from grace in recent times.
Cook refuses to be downcast, though, and is hoping to lead the side to more wins than losses in 2016 as they look to build their way up once more.
He said: “What’s happened has happened. You can’t look back, you’ve got to go for it again and see what we can do with what we’ve got.
“I was here when we went up before and it’s gone full circle again and now all the youngsters are coming through.
“The teams will be made up of boys, but we will give it a go.
“It’s the way forward for the club. We’ve not lost anyone from last year, but we’ve got to rebuild again.”
Cook, a top order batsman and useful bowler, will be able to call upon the likes of hard-hitting Paul Hurworth, among other more experienced players, once again this summer.
But the focus is well and truly on the young blood at the club and helping them to develop their game as Green seek calmer waters.
“We’re in Division Three, so it’s the perfect way to start for the younger ones,” added Cook.
“The rest of us are still here, but we want the right blend and to kick on and see where it takes us.
“Adam Thain has netted really well this winter and we’ve got Tom Gentle from Havering and we will be looking at those two to do a job.”
Green endured a string of losses in 2015 and Cook admits the younger members of the squad have plenty to learn when it comes to navigating their way through a campaign.
But he believes they have enough in their ranks to be pushing towards the top end of the table for once and says the mood in the camp is upbeat.
“Last year was frustrating. There were games we could’ve won, but no happy medium,” he said.
“We need to pick up points. Bonus points are important in all-day cricket and we’ve got to instill that in the younger players.
“It’s a learning curve for them, but we’ve got enough experience still and I’d like to think we can have a go at getting back into Division Two, if the weather lets us play!
“It goes in cycles. When you’ve got the likes of Wanstead and Brentwood attracting the best kids, its fits and starts.
“But we’ve had a massive influx of kids in the young age groups, from under-nines to under-15s, which is all promising for the future, and the general attitude at the club is really positive.”