Sandhurst CC skipper aims to make the next stepBy Adam Lee
May 02, 2012
Consistency is the name of the game for new Sandhurst captain Adam Birch as they look to challenge for the Berkshire Cricket League title this season.
Having replaced outgoing captain Jaemie Gale, Birch is hoping that Sandhurst can finally fulfill the obvious potential at the club and cement their position as one of the top teams in the Premier Division.
However, they will have to do it without last season’s star man, Dave Hambrook, after the Australian returned home.
Hambrook averaged 45.83 in 15 league games last season, and earned himself a place in the league select XI for the annual Champions Challenge match.
However, Birch believes the emergence of Anthony Clapham, who spent the winter playing cricket down under, could soften the blow of Hambrook’s departure.
“Losing Dave was a big thing for us, but Anthony Clapham has come back from Australia a much better batsman.
“He’s very confident in his ability and we are expecting big things from him this year.
“We have always finished in the top half – third, fourth or fifth – but it needs to click for us to go a step further.
“We have never had a run of games where we have bowled and batted well.
“We’ve got one of the best teams in the league, but getting it all to gel and then keeping that going for the whole season is the challenge.
“All the teams that have won the league have always been consistent and that is what we have to do.
“We are now trying to focus on proper warm ups before each game so we can really hit the ground running.”
Sandhurst have managed to retain the services of Ashfaque Rahman in their attack, a player that Birch has high hopes for this season.
The pace bowler, who is also a big hitter, took 22 wickets last season for an average loss of 16.68 runs, and he has already shown his prowess in Sandhurst’s warm-up game, taking two wickets in the seven wicket win over Yateley last month.
Also in action that day was Steve Phipps, who has joined Sandhurst from Emmbrook & Bearwood.
And although opening batsman Sumit Malla is unavailable for the first game of the season at Stoke Row, Birch has high hopes for success.
“It was a very positive start against Yateley and we are very confident going into the season,” he said.
Sandhurst 2nd also have a new captain in Mark Clapham.
And this season they are looking for a number of colts to come to the fore, in particular Daniel Bird, Connor Pharo and James Birch.