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Howzat: Richard Brabner backs Harold Wood to bounce back in Essex League Division One from recent blows

PUBLISHED: 08:00 01 May 2016

Harold Wood's Richard Brabner (pic: Graham Hodges)

Harold Wood's Richard Brabner (pic: Graham Hodges)

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After relegation last season, club hoping to put a long winter behind them and start this year strongly

Harold Wood’s new skipper Richard Brabner admits it has been a long winter for everyone at the club, but is determined to put it behind them this season.

Under the captaincy of Tom Clarke last year, Wood suffered relegation from the Essex League Premier Division.

It was only their second season in the top flight and a number of tight matches didn’t go their way which resulted in them finishing bottom.

But Brabner is confident about enjoying success this year and looking forward to being captain of the club. He said: “It has been a long winter, obviously the same length as usual, but it felt that little bit longer this time.

“Everyone is really raring to go and get out there and play again now. It didn’t go to plan last year, but we all recognise it was only our second-ever season in the Premier Division as a club.

“We always expected a tough campaign and it proved to be the case. If you look back there was quite a number of close games. For whatever reason they didn’t go our way.

“You wonder if they had gone for us early on how things might have been different, but we’ve managed to keep the majority of the team and we hope to build on that.”

Wood have recruited well and brought in Craig Perrin from Frinton-on-Sea and managed to keep Shahbaz Khan, who took 20 wickets in the Premier Division in 2015.

Brabner is looking for the likes of Usman Aslam, Zohran Afzal and Sandeep Singh to step up and keep developing as well, adding: “Everyone is confident about having a good crack this year.

“Division One has so many good teams and players so it will be a tough and competitive league, but we want to improve on what we did last season and try to get back to the Premier.

“We have some really exciting young cricketers and that is always good. It is really key for us that not just performances on the pitch are going well, but further down we are laying foundations for these guys to come through.”

• Read more in our Howzat! pullout here.

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