Monday, 21 June 2021

‘Missing out on title will make us stronger,’

THE captain of Henley Cricket Club says they will be gunning for the title next time around.

THE captain of Henley Cricket Club says they will be gunning for the title next time around.

After finishing second in the Home Counties Premier League Division 1 on Saturday, Michael Roberts says his players will be going into every game next season believing they can win.

It has been two years since Henley last won the trophy and this time finished behind Finchampstead.

But while Roberts admits there is ground to make up he says that the club as a whole has progressed. The 27-year-old said: “To say we have had a two-year drought is a bit harsh given it has been two seasons and we have always been there or thereabouts.

“Yes, it is about winning titles but, for us, it is also about developing the club. This year we have looked at what we do in preseason and during the week in our build-up.

“We played some really good cricket and we just missed out over the best team during the course of the season.

“Finchampstead had good momentum early on and they have an overseas player who picked up seven fifers.

“We probably lost out due to a few hours here and there in other fixtures where we could have played better.”

Roberts says the biggest challenge is making sure his players are focused.

He says: “Sometimes when we turn up on a Saturday and some of the players are in different frames of minds or not quite at the races but that’s real life, we are not robots.

“We need to get into a really good headspace and I think that is something we can really work on while making sure that we still have fun.”

This season has been the first for Roberts as captain, having taken over from Bjorn Mordt at the end of the last league campaign.

“It has been a real learning curve for me as captain,” he says. “I have been quite attacking with fields, and we want to play attacking cricket, but perhaps I could have been more patient at times.

“My relationship with the players has changed a little bit for training and match days but I don’t believe in being autocratic, we have a group of guys who get on really well and when we turn up on a Saturday we only want to win.”

Roberts has singled out the performances of his new recruits in his side’s consistent form. “They have all done really well for us,” he says. “Richard Morris has had a very good year with the bat, scoring around 800 runs at an average of late 50s or 60. He is a really good player to come in at number four.

“We have Euan Woods from Wargrave who has done really well with bat and ball and also Jack Daniels has done really well every time he has played while Gushrav Singh also has almost 40 wickets.

“We want to keep the players together if they want to be here. I will also have a chat with some of the older players to see what their plans are as family and children come quickly when you reach your early and mid-30s.”

He added: “We are always striving for consistency, that is our ambition for each game and where we want to improve and that’s why we do all our preparation work.

Roberts paid tribute to the club’s second XI following their promotion from Morrant Thames Valley Division 2b and says the future looks bright for cricket in Henley.

“It is great to see the second team getting promoted,” he said. “It is probably a better thing from a club point of view than the first team winning the league.

“Promotion will make their cricket more competitive, they will attract more players and it closes the gap in ability between our teams, which can only be a benefit to the first team.”

Roberts says there is every reason to be excited about the side’s chances next season and insists the club will be working hard in the off-season.

“We go for the title every year,” he says. “We are not there to just compete we are there to win it and every time we go out on the field we believe we are going to win.

“We will work hard to have the right group of players and that goes for the first team right down to the fourth team and we will look to improve them and bring in young players so they can reach their potential and we will always look to get the right balance.”

He added: “Winning trophies is a symptom of that hard work and we will continue to express ourselves and be aggressive with our skills and we will be there of thereabouts next year.”

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