Howzat: New Navestock captain sets sights on success

PUBLISHED: 15:00 01 May 2016

Navestock Ardleigh Green's Matt Simmons loses his off stump against Great Wakering (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Navestock Ardleigh Green's Matt Simmons loses his off stump against Great Wakering (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

Simmons succeeds Pearson after promotion

New Navestock Ardleigh Green captain Matt Simmons is confident of building on the good work done by his predecessor.

Simmons takes over from Gary Pearson, who led Green to promotion last year, and has set his sights high.

He said: “I’d like to thank Gary for the last four years of captaincy. We ended 2015 on a real high gaining promotion and also amassed our highest ever points total of 280, winning 10 out of the 14 games after losing the first four.

“I have a positive feeling about this season. It’s the first in a while where all younger players have finished university. We have assembled a side with an average age of low 20s with a couple of older heads. I expect us to be one of main contenders.

“My aim is another top three of four finish. We have the ability to come close to back-to-back promotions.”

Simmons named Great Wakering and Rainham seconds as their main rivals once again, after both clubs also won promotion to Division Six in 2015.

And he is hoping for big things from vice-captain Billy Greaves, adding: “It will be a very competitive division and we’ve had close matches with both in previous seasons. I can see them being just as strong again in 2016.

“We actually host Great Wakering on the opening day of the season, which I know most of the boys are looking forward to!

“I’ve played with Billy since colts cricket and he’s the same age (24). He is our left arm opening bowler and I’m sure he’s going to play a crucial role with the ball this season and with on-field decision making!

“I’m also expecting a big season from our wicketkeeper-batsman Tiraj (T) Patel, who has now returned from university.

“By T’s standards he didn’t have the best season with the bat last year as he was in and out of the team with university commitments.

“But he has had a full winter netting this year and I’m sure he’ll fulfill expectations and score heavily throughout.”

Skipper Simmons will look to do his bit for the team with bat and ball and is hoping the close-knit nature of the squad will ensure an enjoyable summer.

“I’m looking to follow up what was a successful season on a personal note last year, batting in the middle order,” he said.

“Bowling off-spin, I hope to be able to offer variety with the ball and guide the team towards a top three of four finish.

“The key thing for me is that we play competitive, but enjoyable cricket. We have a group of players that know each other really well and this year will be about aiming to succeed as a team.

“I hope to look back in September and reflect on what is another progressive season.”

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