Downham Stow skipper previews season

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The new Norfolk Alliance cricket season starts tomorrow with Downham Stow, Fakenham and North Runcton all looking to launch a Premier Division title challenge in the months ahead.Downham Stow start their campaign with a trip to Garboldisham.Captain Pat Yates looks ahead to the new campaign in this question-and-answer session.How pleased are you to be the club captain? Delighted. I had a year off last year and am looking forward to another year leading the club. Is captaincy something you always hoped to do in your career?Yeah it’s great to be able to lead the team, hopefully get the best out of the players and success as a captain always feels slightly better. Are you confident you will be able to mix both roles (playing and captaincy) successfully? I’ve captained for several years so yes I think you learn over time how to do that as successfully as possible and ensure you get the best out of yourself but also the team. Who is your vice-captain and do plan to work closely as a leadership group?Ben Wilcox is a young lad with tonnes of quality and loads of ideas so hopefully I’ll be able to lean on him on a Saturday. The 1st XI finished third last season, what do you think are your key areas as a side you need to improve on this season?Consistency really, we’ve got so much talent in the team but it’s putting it together for 100 overs week in and week out that matters. Unfortunately last year we didn’t play well enough for long enough periods and that was the difference.What can you tell us about any new players for 2024? We’ve managed to bring in an Australian overseas player Pranav Susarla who is a top-order batsman and off-spinner. He’s been here a couple of weeks and is a nice lad and settling in well so we hope to see lots of top performances on the pitch from him.We’ve managed to get George Bruce back from a stint in the EAPL with Wisbech where he did well.George is an opening bowler with bags of pace and also hits the ball hard when he gets going.Hopefully, those two will add to what we already have and we can kick on.Which clubs do you feel will be your main rivals in the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division?Fakenham are always strong so I would have to say them.How many sides are the club fielding in 2024? Four Saturday sides and a Sunday side so there is loads of opportunity for the youth to progress. We also have ladies’ soft and hardball cricket.If someone, who may be new to the area wants to join the club as a player what should they do? We welcome all new players of any standard or age. We have youth age groups right the way through as well as a thriving ladies’ set-up. You can send us a message on Facebook, X, or Instagram or contact us at if you’d like more info.How as a club do you keep promoting the game of cricket?Downham Stow is always looking to grow. We are planning a new 4 bay training facility for next year which will bring loads of opportunity for everyone at the club. We host many Norfolk youth games and we strive to bring through the next talents in the area.Finally, when does the season start for Downham Stow Cricket Club and when is your opening league match?On Saturday, they have games at both Stow Hall and The Memorial Ground in Downham.

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