Newmarket Cricket Club captain Mark Nunn happy with balance in squad
Newmarket Cricket Club captain Mark Nunn believes that he has more of a united and balanced squad at his disposal for the upcoming season.
The Stampede defied the odds in many ways to achieve promotion last term given that it was the phoenix club’s first campaign since being reformed.
Covid-19 restrictions meant winter nets were not permitted and Newmarket got under way in 2021 with a group of players that knew very little about each other.
However, as they prepare to embark on a new term in Whiting & Partners Division One, Nunn is expecting to see more cohesion from the off.
“It’s only our second season and so I think you have to be realistic and think that a mid-table finish would be good going,” said the all-rounder.
“The bare minimum is that we remain in Division One because we worked so hard collectively last year to get there.
“But hopefully we can look a little bit higher than that. We’ve recruited well and there is some strength in depth at the club now.
“We’ve got more balance as well. This group has players that have played at a higher level and they know what this sort of league is all about.
“When we set up the club it was right in the middle of the pandemic. We couldn’t do any nets and nobody knew anyone – it was straight into games.
“This time we’ve been able to have a full pre-season. We started winter nets in January and there has been a minimum of 20 people at each one.
“We’ve made a big investment in training and John Maynard’s coaching has really improved the players.
“We’ve got a lot more confidence and depth going into this season.”
Nunn has been busy over the winter months in terms of recruitment, adding Mohammad Chowdhury, Connor Hotham, Joe Heather, Humair Lakhani, Jensen Henry and Andre Fuller to the ranks.
And Nunn is hopeful that the new signings will help to improve the side from a batting perspective.
“It’s the batting where we need to get better,” he added. “We were fantastic bowling-wise last year and we pretty much bowled every team out.
“But too many times we got on a slippery slope with the batting and the likes of myself and Max (Pipe) had to rebuild.
“The signs have been good in the friendlies and we now bat quite deep.
“In one of the friendlies Andre came in at eight and scored 50 which shows how far down it goes now.
“Hopefully this year we won’t be looking over our shoulder and thinking there isn’t much left to come in the batting.”
The season begins at The Severals on Saturday with the visit of Old Leysians (1pm), who were promoted alongside Newmarket after the two teams finished on the same points.
The Cambridge-based visitors won both matches between the sides last summer and Nunn is looking to put that right at the third time of asking.
“If you can win your opening game the momentum and confidence it brings can be huge,” he said.
“Old Leysians are a good side and a good group of guys.
“They beat us twice last year but I’m confident that if we can put in a good performance then the result will go our way this time.”