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Foxton Granta captain Lewys Hill happy with recruitment ahead of 2024 campaign getting started

It has been a busy winter of recruitment at Foxton Granta.

Just a matter of months after the merger of Foxton and Cambridge Granta Cricket Clubs was confirmed, the newly-formed side went on to be crowned Oynx League Division One champions in 2022.

They came up short in the subsequent Thurlow Nunn East Anglian Premier League promotion play-offs, but hopes were nevertheless high heading into the following campaign that the team were well equipped to go one better and get themselves up.

William Brown has joined Foxton Granta from Histon. Picture: Mark Westley
William Brown has joined Foxton Granta from Histon. Picture: Mark Westley

However, results were much more inconsistent throughout 2023, leading to Foxton Granta settling for a fourth-placed finish.

Reflecting on last term, captain Lewys Hill said: “As an overall club, I’d say last year has to be seen as a success. We grew again in terms of teams, members and juniors and it’s looking like we’ll do the same this year.

“There’s a big community feel about the club, as there has been ever since the two clubs merged.

“But if you look at the first team, it’s fair to say that we would have liked to have done a little bit better.

“We still finished in a decent position and so we were not too disappointed, but when you came top the year before, you want to be challenging into the latter stages.

“We struggled a little bit for player availability at times and we didn’t have the balance that you need every week.”

In a bid to get the team back battling it out for top honours, Hill has made numerous additions to his squad during the winter.

The club has secured the services of two overseas players, with 19-year-old Australian Fergus Ferguson set to lead the seam attack, while Brodie Murphy – an all-rounder from Queensland – is likely to turn out for the second team.

Sam Beer, who has previously featured for Cambridge University Cricket Club, will also bolster the bowling options, while Will Brown is set to provide some runs up the order having scored more than 3,000 in Division One for neighbouring Histon.

On the addition of Brown, Hill said: “Will’s stats speak for themselves. I’m sure he’s going to make some big contributions for us this season and we’re excited that he has joined us.

“He’ll be a valuable asset with the bat and he has the type of experience that can help us win matches.”

The big question now is – will these additions help to put Foxton Granta back into title contention?

The answer will only truly become known once the matches get under way, but Hill is of the belief that this is one of the strongest squads during his tenure as skipper.

“On a personal level, it’s always my mindset to go out there and try to win,” he added.

“That’s why we all play the game after all. It’s a competitive level we play at and you want to do as well as possible.

“Looking at the strength of the club, the teams we have and the players, I think we have enough to be competitive every week.

“I’m not going to say we’re title contenders or the favourites to win it or anything like that, but I would like to think that we’ll be up there.

“This squad definitely has a nice feeling to it. Obviously a ball hasn’t been bowled yet, but in terms of what you’d like to have covered from a skillset perspective, I think we have a good balance across the board.

“In terms of quality this squad is definitely up there since the merger and I’m excited to get going with this group.”

Hill’s side will get the new campaign started on Saturday (20 April) when they travel to face Southill Park.

Their first home game will come a week later when they play host to Sawston & Babraham II.

Foxton Granta go into those contests on the back of having won last weekend’s friendly at Saffron Walden II by 31 runs.

Skipper Hill won the toss and elected to bat first, with his side going on to post a score of 274-7 from their allotted 50 overs.

Johnny Atkinson (52) top scored for the visitors and immediately retired after reaching his half century, while both Harry Hopwood and new addition Brown fell just short of that landmark, finishing on 49 and 47 runs respectively.

Lower down the order, Murphy hit a quickfire 23 runs from 21 deliveries.

Much of Walden’s reply with the bat centred around the innings of their opener and captain Mihir Chandraker, who scored 112 runs before falling to the bowling of his opposite number Hill.

That was by some way the hosts’ highest score, with Harry Silverwood ending unbeaten on a patient 36 from 79 balls.

Walden reached their 50 overs with two wickets still intact, but their total of 243-8 was short of the required target.

Hill (3-37) was the pick of the Foxton Granta bowling attack from his 10 overs, while Kaif Iqbal (2-52) also caught the eye.

Australian bowler Ferguson and Arahan Chattopadhyay also snared a wicket apiece alongside a run out from Hopwood, who removed Chris Silverwood for a duck.

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