Newmarket Cricket Club aiming to be battling at the top end of the table
It is very much a step into the unknown, but captain Mark Nunn is hopeful the squad that a reformed Newmarket Cricket Club have assembled will be good enough to challenge for top honours this term.
Saturday will mark the return of competitive cricket to the town for the first time since 2017, with Ufford Park visiting The Severals in a Cambs & Hunts Whitings & Partners Division Two opener (1pm).
With the club in its previous guise having disbanded four years ago, it has been a busy winter for Nunn, who took up the challenge of putting a team together from scratch.
On paper there appears to be a good blend of youth and experience, with the likes of Ziaf Kulasi, Maxford Pipe and Nunn himself offering plenty of the latter.
How it all gels remains to be seen, but Nunn is optimistic The Stampede possess the necessary quality to be battling at the right end of the table.
“It’s an interesting one. We’re a brand new team and in a lot of ways you don’t know what to expect,” said the former Bury St Edmunds and Worlington all-rounder.
“Hopefully it can blend together, we’ll have fun and then see where that takes us.
“To be competing towards the top end of the table you need to have at least five or six serious players.
“Have we got that? We’re ambitious, we want to get promoted and compete for the title, so hopefully we have.
“I’m pretty confident we’ve got a good squad together, but it’s also going to be learning curve – things may change as we go.
“What I will say is every one of the lads has been very committed in training – I cannot have asked for more.”
If this phoenix side is to be in the running for promotion this year, Nunn feels the bowling unit is going to play a key role.
He added: “I think we’re going to be a team that skittles teams out. Our bowling attack looks strong and hopefully we can blast some teams away.
“If we bowl first we’ll be looking to get teams out early to give ourselves decent targets to reach.
“It’s difficult batting, especially early in the season when the pitches are a little bit damp and the surfaces are very much a work in progress.
“Whereas if you bowl it into the right areas then the pitch might do a bit for you – that’s what we’ll be looking for.”
As well as putting together a group of players, Nunn has also been heavily involved in helping the club to re-establish itself off the pitch.
The hard work will come to fruition this weekend when things get under way, and Nunn is excited to see how it all plays out during the months to come.
“Hopefully Covid allows us to get a full season. It’s not going to be perfect with not having teas and some of the restrictions, but we are excited to get playing,” he said.
“A lot of people have put a lot of work in – things like the ground, sponsors, getting players in – all of this to make sure cricket is played in the town again.
“It’s a brand new entity and while maybe we shouldn’t expect too much, hopefully we can win plenty of games.”