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New-look squad for Burwell & Exning in East Anglian Premier League

Tom Griffiths will captain Burwell & Exning this season. Picture: Mark Westley
Tom Griffiths will captain Burwell & Exning this season. Picture: Mark Westley

Burwell & Exning have taken the opportunity to rebuild during this winter.

It was a tough time for the young side in the truncated, mini-league format last summer, but they have regrouped and brought some experience in to aid the youngsters.

Tom Griffiths, the opening batsman, has taken over as captain and explained that the doubt created by government restrictions last year over whether cricket would even be played had hampered their preparations.

“Last season was a difficult for us – it was difficult for a lot of people, but we found it very tough,” he said.

“A lot of the main first-team players didn’t really think the season was going to happen.

“We found it quite hard that suddenly cricket was going to happen, but it was going to be friendly cricket – in a small league, with no promotion or relegation.

“We decided to blood in a lot of youth which was great to happen because they all got Premier League experience.

“With that experience, going on in the next couple of years is going to be great for them. But we were also handed quite a lot of bad defeats which was also a struggle to keep the team motivated with that as well.

“Looking for this season, it was probably one of the best things that could have happened to us because the club and the whole first-team squad got together and went ‘right, what do we want to do going forward? Did we want to be the team that just about competes and just stays in the Premier League? Or do we want to be a team that really starts pushing forward?’.

“We’ve decided we want to start pushing forward to be a team looked at as a strong team within the Premier League. It’s why we’ve gone out hard over the winter to get these right players in.

“We’ve tried to get the right players in, rather than just a name, not just for this year but also for the future as well.”

It means there will be five new players in the squad this year, and they will blend youth and experience.

The newcomers are Olly Jefferies, Alex Woolliscroft, Matt Jones, James Hickman and Tony Dezorzi.

Jefferies is a 17-year-old opening batsman who has arrived from Eaton Socon and has links with Northamptonshire; Wooliscroft is a middle-order batsman and pace bowler who captained Clifton in the Derbyshire Premier League for four years and has played for Cambridgeshire; and Jones is an opening bowler who has played for Falkland and Hook in Berkshire, and also captained sides.

Their two overseas players are 19-year-old Hickman, an opening bowler from South Africa who attended the King Edward VII School which is a hotbed of cricketing talent, and Dezorzi, who is the headline addition. He is a top order batsman and professional, who has played for the Cobras and South Africa under-19s.

“We’ve got some quite experienced players to look after this year, which should make my life very easy as well,” said Griffiths.

“It’s probably the most excited I’ve seen the players since I’ve played at the club about an upcoming season. It’s because it feels like a new way of looking at the season. Bringing in those experienced players who are going to add such a lot to the team, we can go in with a lot of confidence.”

Griffiths is also personally looking forward to taking on the captaincy.

“I’ve done captaincy at my clubs before. It’s something that I enjoy doing,” He said.

“As an opening bat, I’ve always felt it was a strong part of my game to be captain as well. Also, in a new-look team, we can mould it into the way the club wants to go looking forward.”

He added: “We’re very excited. None of us really thought we would start the season on time, but the fact that we can is fairly exciting.

“We’ve done a lot of hard work over the winter to get in the right players to take the team forward.”

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