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Stour ready to make their league return
10:00am Saturday 28th April 2012 in Sport
RICHARD Bradley has backed Stourbridge Cricket Club’s “record-breakers”
to shine in the Birmingham League.
Stour get their Division Three campaign under way this Saturday when they travel to Aston Manor.
It’s the club’s first Birmingham League game in eight years following last season’s promotion from the Worcester League, when Stour pulled in a record points haul.
The playing squad remains largely unchanged, with James Musk’s exit to Halesowen the only major news but skipper Bradley has backed the club’s young stars to once again perform.
He said: “We did look at bringing in a couple of players but if I’m honest I didn’t push too hard.
“I’m not too worried about the lack of additions because last year I saw 14 or 15 playerswho were ready and hungry for first team cricket.
“Losing James is disappointing and he will be missed but he is the only player who has left.
“It just means a couple of lads in the seconds will get their chance to stake a place in the team.”
KalpeshPatel will alsobemissing for the first half of the season but Stour have been boosted by the return of West Indian all-rounderAudy Alexander.
Withhalf of the12teamseitherbeing promotedor relegated at theendof the season, Division Three is notoriously hard-fought but Bradley expects his side to cope.
He added: “We may have had an eight-month break but last year we showed we know how to win cricket matches and that gives us confidence.
“I’m expecting us to be improved.
The key thing is we will focus on our own performance.
“There are no specific aims for the season.
“For the first-half I expect we are going to take each game as it comes and then reassess when we get to halfway.”
Stuart Wedge says Himley are out to make the perfect start against Leamington Spa this Saturday.
The Stourbridge Road side host Leamington as they get another Birmingham Premier League campaign underway,Wedge’s second as captain.
He believes a strong start could be crucial.
Wedge said: “Leamingtonisn’t one of the fixtures which jumps out at you at the start of the season but every game is an opportunity to pick up points.
“I think we have an ideal opportunity to get off to a decent start.
“We will be going into every game in a positive frame of mind and making a good start will help us with that.”
Himley challenged for the title last season en route to finishing third and though Indian overseas star Wasim Jaffer is not returning, the club have added experience in the shape of former Old Hill trio Nathan Round, Ashfak Hussein and Dan Wood.
Wedge is refusing to make any bold predictions but says the club are heading into the new campaign in good spirits.
Headded: “I think if youask any side at the start of the season they would say they would like to win the league.
“But I think our focus, certainly early on, will be to take every game as it comes.”