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Howzat: Bentley CC look to build on big year in Mid-Essex League

PUBLISHED: 11:00 01 May 2016

Bentley players receive their shield from Essex's James Foster

Bentley players receive their shield from Essex's James Foster

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Defending Premier Division champions determined to do well again

Bentley celebrate winning the Mid-Essex League titleBentley celebrate winning the Mid-Essex League title

The 2015 T. Rippon Mid Essex League season was a memorable one for Bentley, on and off the field.

The first team clinched the Premier Division title for the second time in three years, pipping Springfield by nine points.

And the club also celebrated their 125th anniversary, hosting an international match to mark the occasion as Vanuatu thrashed Botswana in preparation for the ICC World League tournament.

But now the focus for club captain Chris Pether is on defending their title of champions in an increasingly difficult division.

“It’s going to be tough again as last year we only lost two games all year and only just won the league by a few points, so you can’t afford many slip-ups,” he said.

“If you have a slow start you can almost be out of the race after a few games, but having said that, we’ll be confident going into every game as we know that we can beat anyone on our day.”

Bentley’s second team, unfortunately, had a completely contrasting season as they finished bottom of Division One, winning just twice all season.

Pether added: “It would be great for them to bounce back straight away, but they’re still one of the highest-placed second teams in the league, so it won’t be easy for them playing against a lot of first teams.”

The third and fourth teams fell short in their promotion hopes in Division Seven and Division 11, but due to a league re-shuffle they now find themselves in the divisions above.

Pether expects both teams to comfortably stay up as they “try and find their feet” at the higher level.

To defend the Premier Division title, Bentley will be relying on Steve, Matt and Phil Coleman, who were regulars in last year’s campaign.

Plus there is an ever increasing reliance on the young guns as they continue to bring through bright prospects.

“The club prides itself on bringing talent through its colts set-up with Matt Doran, Lewis Snell, Tom Mann, Tobie Duncan and Jack Meadows all progressing well,” said Pether.

“Doran broke into the first team last year and ended up winning the Premier Division young player of the year award, so it’d be great to see him carry on that form this year.”

Bentley field 11 colts teams in total from the ages of seven to 19, including four girls’ teams, and the coaches aim to create a fun but competitive atmosphere for them to experience.

And they get to play in great surroundings, with Pether believing they have “the best ground in the league.”

He added: “It’s quite a secluded ground, surrounded by trees, which makes it very picturesque and our pavilion was built in 2000 which has a great bar and decent size changing rooms, plus there’s a great family atmosphere which makes it a great place to play.”

Bentley return to Coxtie Green Road to welcome a League XI as part of their preparations for the new season and host Great Bromley & District in the first round of the National Village Cup, before kicking off the new league season aiming for Premier glory again.

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