Alex Hooley happy to put down an anchor for Foxton
Batsman plays crucial role at the top of the order
As insurance policies go, Foxton seem to have got the ideal premium in the Whiting & Partners Cambs & Hunts Premier League, Division One.
There is no doubting the wealth of riches in their batting line-up, and there is no lack of confidence in being able to post a big score or chase down a total.
But for all their natural flamboyance, there needs to be a figure that can keep it all together, and for Foxton that is Alex Hooley.
He has been a mainstay of many of the side’s innings, whether that be from the top of the order at opener or at No 3.
“We’ve got a lot of stroke players in our side and I’m probably there to try to bat for as much time as possible – basically for people to bat around,” said Hooley.
“And to ensure we get through all of our overs and post as big a total as possible.
“We really do bat down to 11, as was proven against Histon. When you have someone batting at seven like James Coe, who would be at No 3 at other clubs, it shows that.
“I’m really pleased with how I have started the season, to be honest. There are a lot of high quality stroke players around me.
“The thing about league cricket is batting time is essential, and I’m there to ensure that the ship is always steady.
“The one game where I threw a century away was against Eaton Socon but we had to go for the runs. It has not been a case of missed opportunities [on the other occasions when he has got over 50], but Eaton Socon definitely was.
“We’re not professional cricketers, so we do make mistakes. I’m hopeful that on a good pitch, the opportunities will be around the corner.”
Hooley is now in his third season at Foxton, and he has represented a number of other local sides. He played his youth cricket at Cambridge St Giles, before spending time at Histon, and then six seasons at Cambridge Granta.
“I was in and out of the first and second team there,” said Hooley. “They are the best club in Cambridge and there are a lot of good people there who brought my game on a lot.
“What I learned I have definitely carried on by dropping down a level.”
Hooley moved to London and the travel commitments were a factor in him leaving Granta.
“I probably played half a season of regular Premier League cricket which definitely brought my game on and so that has helped now,” he said.
“That winter they brought in a couple of really good players and I would have been on the fringes of the first and second team.
“So my thoughts were I didn’t particularly want to travel up to north Norfolk on a Saturday morning to bat seven, if I was in the first team.
“And I didn’t think it was worth coming home to play Senior One cricket really.
“I needed to find a more happy medium and that’s why I chose Foxton.”
And having made the decision to move, Hooley linked up with former Granta coach Jason Coleman, and some other familiar faces.
“I knew a couple of other guys, like Adam Webster, Ravi Mahendra and Cei Sanderson, and it was the familiarity of playing with them. I knew I would be playing with Jason, and I’ve known him for years,” he said. “It’s a bit of a no-brainer really.”
The squad has made them one of the best in the division, but they suffered a setback last weekend when they were beaten by leaders Ketton and then knocked out of the National Village Cup on Sunday by Reed.
“There is the top batch of us – Ketton, Ramsey, Wisbech and Saffron Walden – then the middle group of Godmanchester Town, Waresley, Nassington and Eaton Socon, and then the bottom three,” he said.
“Ketton had three good players, really decent club cricketers. They had two spinners who bowled 20 really tight overs against us and we haven’t faced that quality of bowler yet this year, and unfortunately that meant we didn’t get enough runs.
“But we did well to get 184 after our start and middle overs. The guy who got 79 not out, if we’d got him early it might have been a different game but on the day, they were better than us.
“We’ve just got to hold our hands up and move on to next Saturday when we’ve got them again away, which will be even tougher.
“The Reed game was pretty similar really, as we definitely didn’t make enough runs.”
He added: “On the two days, we were beaten by the two better sides and in sport you’ve just got to accept that and move on.”