Bashley (Rydal) appoint new captain
Thursday, 23 February 2012 23:02
BASHLEY (RYDAL) APPOINT NEW CAPTAIN
Former Hampshire 2nd XI all-rounder Richard Morris has been handed the responsibility of picking up the fortunes of Bashley (Rydal) in the ECB Southern Electric Premier League this summer.
Morris, 24, will replace all-rounder Andy Neal at the helm for Bashley, who finished second to bottom of the Premier Division last season, having won their opening three matches and led the table at the end of May.
He represented England at Under-17 level before obtaining a sports science degree at Loughborough University.
Morris was on the Hampshire staff in 2008, but his hopes of a career at First Class level were thwarted by continual back problems. He was released after one season at the Rose Bowl.
But Morris has been among the leading run getters in Premier League cricket since joining Bashley, scoring over 500 runs in each of the past two seasons.
He describes his appointment as Bashley captain as "a great honour" and says he has every intention of "putting his mark on the job."
"As a relatively young captain I’m fortunate to have a number of experienced players I can call on for guidance should I wish," he said.
"I think my game has improved as a result of being given more responsibility and I’m sure this will continue to be the case now I’ve been appointed captain.
"The club have been brilliant with me since the day I joined.
"As a ‘non-New Forest’ lad, the way in which I was made to feel welcome at the club is a credit to the people involved and I hope that I can repay them by leading the club into an exciting new era."
One of Morris's first tasks will be to rekindle confidence in the Bashley batting which collapsed time and time again last summer.
"I hope to create an atmosphere where guys really take ownership of their games," he said.
"All the 1st XI squad have played enough cricket to know that you don’t get anywhere without a bit of hard work and I’m sure that next season we’ll starting getting the results we should.
"We have some very talented cricketers at the club and the key for us will be how they apply themselves week in week out. It's in such a tight league that you play consistently good cricket."
But Andy Sexton, one of the stalwarts of Bashley cricket for the past decade, will be missing when Morris leads Bash into the field for the first time in mid-April.
Sexton, who played several first team matches for Hampshire during Jimmy Cook's tenure as county coach, called time on his club cricket career at the end of last season, having scored almost 5,000 Premier League runs for the club.
"It won’t be easy to fill the boots of such an experienced and gifted cricketer and the service Andy's given to the club over many years has been nothing short of outstanding," Morris said.
"Andy was the overriding factor in me joining the club five years ago and I know I speak for everybody at the BCG when I say the door is always open for him to return in whatever capacity he chooses."
Morris revealed that Bashley have been working hard behind the scenes on player recruitment and hopes to have two new batsmen at the crease when Bashley launch their Premier Division programme against newly promoted Ventnor at Steephill on May 5.
Middlesex Academy prospect Ryan Higgins is joining from Falkland - Morris's old club on the Berkshire border - while the sight of Jordan Hobday in Bashley colours may raise a few eyebrows in North Hampshire.
Hobday enjoyed a superb 2010 season with Hook & Newnham Basics, helping the SPL2 club to the floodlit Southern Electric Twenty20 final at the Rose Bowl - ironically against Bashley (Rydal) - with some dazzling top order innings.
But he missed virtually all of last season with a serious knee injury and, with surgery due in August, there's no guarantee Hobday will dispense with his golf clubs to make the long journey to the New Forest each fortnight.
Bashley's other mission this summer will be to get their second team back into Premier League cricket.
They finished bottom of Premier League Division 3 last season and, with Simon Dean remaining at the helm, will play in Hampshire League, County Division 1 this summer.
Last Updated on Saturday, 25 February 2012 00:04