Tuesday, 22 June 2021

New captain aiming to win back title

THE new captain of Henley Cricket Club says reclaiming the Home Counties Premier Cricket League Division

THE new captain of Henley Cricket Club says reclaiming the Home Counties Premier Cricket League Division 1 title is the team’s “number one aim” this season.

Michael Roberts has replaced former skipper Bjorn Mordt, who stepped down from the role last season after 10 years.

The club, who were looking for a record-breaking third consecutive title in 2015, lost out on the final day to champions High Wycombe.

Roberts, 27, has played for Henley since 2006 and also represented Hampshire as a professional in 2012 and 2013. Last season the batsman scored more than 800 runs and was named the club’s player of the season.

The batsman has currently won four league titles and two T20 competitions with the club and says his sights are firmly on more silverware.

Roberts said: “Winning the title is the number one aim. We’ve split the league into three sets of six and we want to have a very strong first six games.

“There are some tough fixtures in there which will test our mettle and we will see if all our hard work comes to fruition.

“We want to put ourselves in a good position in the longer games so we can set up for the last four of five one-day games. That was where we folded a bit last year.

“The talent in the first team at the moment is as good as I’ve seen. We’ve brought in Euan Woods and Richard Morris this season and going forward this will be a hugely competitive team.

“We are pretty strong all round. In previous years we’ve been seen as a bowling side but we have two great openers in (Tahir) Afridi and (Tom) Nugent, helped by Bjorn.

“We’ve had some good overseas players and spinners as well. This winter we’ve focused on our batting and really tried to tackle that.

“We’ve also set up an academy this winter, ensuring there is a continual stream of talent making its way through the ranks and up to the 1st XI.”

Roberts volunteered himself to succeed Mordt at the end of last season and says he can’t wait to get started in his new role.

He said: “It’s a role I was very excited to do. Bjorn did an unbelievable job and it’s big shoes to fill. The committee had a few people to pick from but I guess it helped that I have been at the club for a long time and played professionally.

“I’m hugely excited, Bjorn left the club in a really good place and that makes my job much easier. We have a great playing squad and a committee which works incredibly hard. We are developing a really good culture on and off the field and my role is just to make sure everything runs smoothly.

“Bjorn has been a huge part of the club and going forward he’s still got a great skill set, he’s one of the best fielders I’ve played with. It’s great to have him there to turn to for advice and he’s really happy to be part of the ranks again.

“It will be a little bit strange being his captain but my style of leadership will be different. I’m sure at times there will be things I need to say but I want to lead with my actions.”

Roberts says the team have shaken off the disappointment of surrendering the title on the final day and he is confident that they can make a flying start to this season.

He said: “We haven’t lingered too much on it. It was a bizarre day and we need to harness the motivation, it left a bitter taste in my mouth but I’m not dwelling on it.

“We need the motivation not to get in that position again, we don’t want it to go down to the last day this season.” Henley begin their Home Counties League Division 1 campaign tomorrow (Saturday) when they host newly-promoted Great and Little Tew at the Brakspear Ground.

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