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Sam Rippington aims to help nurture young Burwell & Exning squad after taking captaincy

New Burwell & Exning captain Sam Rippington. Picture: Mecha Morton
New Burwell & Exning captain Sam Rippington. Picture: Mecha Morton

Sam Rippington is relishing taking on the captaincy of Burwell & Exning as a young squad will get valuable experience in a setting free of pressure.

The 26-year-old left arm fast medium bowler has taken on the mantle from Joe Tetley, and will be going into his fourth season in the EAPL.

“Joe did a good job over the last four seasons and he just wanted to concentrate on his batting this year,” said Rippington.

“I put my hand up and said I would give it a go – I’ve got a bit of experience doing it in the Tucker (the Cambs and Hunts Premier League), and obviously doing the captaincy with Cambridgeshire this year as well, it tied in quite nicely that I could do them both together.”

The county captaincy has been split this season, with Rippington due to take charge in the red-ball, three-day game, and Sawston & Babraham’s Callum Guest will skipper in the white-ball, limited-overs format.

But the red-ball matches have been cancelled because of the pandemic, although Rippington did captain the side in friendly T20 games against Bedfordshire last Sunday in the absence of Guest.

“My first year as captain has been very short!” said Rippington.

There has been a core of up to six players for Burwell & Exning in the past few seasons, with overseas players Tom Jagot (2017, 2019) and Tyrone Koen (2018) adding to the pool, but otherwise it has been a young squad.

“We’ve always had a pretty solid six or seven, and then it’s just getting the young lads in and getting them experienced,” said Rippington.

“Maddox Colby was 15 or 16 last year and opening the bowling with me, which is brilliant because when he is 18 or 19, he will be in a position where he has played dozens of EAPL games and not just coming in wide-eyed and a bit nervous about it all.

“It can only be a good thing for those youngsters. It’s tough to be able to compete at times because we are a small club and we are punching quite a way above our weight being a village side. But having these youngsters come through is brilliant and it gives them a chance to play EAPL cricket which is fantastic.”

As is the theme elsewhere throughout the league, Burwell & Exning will not have an overseas player this season.

They have brought in a couple of young lads including teenager Tom Newman, a middle order batsman and off-spin bowler from Longstanton.

While for those that want to compete and win the ‘league’, the format means there may be a bit less to play for in that regard – with the two group winners playing off in September – but it is ideal for Burwell & Exning.

“It’s a great opportunity to get these kids in and play at the top level,” said Rippington.

“We’re certainly going along the lines of youth over experience, and trying to get these boys in so next year when they do get the opportunity they are not coming into a side worrying about it because they haven’t played with us before and don’t know the level.”

There is also an argument to be made that Burwell & Exning have been better in the limited-overs matches in the past few seasons. So the white-ball format for the rest of this summer may work in their favour.

“We’ve got some good youngsters who can bowl the middle overs, our batting is more dynamic,” said Rippington.

“Joe Tetley is not going to out there and block it – his 180 against Granta (last season) admittedly was in a long-format game but he just wants to hit the ball hard.

“We did alright. We were surprised because we thought we would be better in the longer format, but it turns out we’re probably better suited to the shorter format.

“It’s going to be fun because we will play in coloured kit, it’s all going to be brand new, we’ll be playing with pink balls, so it’s going to be proper one-day cricket and exciting to see how it goes.”

Burwell & Exning start their season at home to Swardeston this Saturday (July 25).

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