Excitement builds as season draws near

PUBLISHED: 09:54 09 April 2015 | UPDATED: 09:54 09 April 2015

Saffron Walden Cricket Club's ground at Anglo American Playing Fields.

Saffron Walden Cricket Club's ground at Anglo American Playing Fields.

Archant

Excitement is building ahead of Saffron Walden Cricket Club’s 2015 season in the East Anglian Premier League.

The first team has two friendlies this weekend, against Bishop’s Stortford and Cambridge Granta, both are at the Anglo American Playing Fields, before the season begins in earnest on April 18.

Walden open the season at Norwich before their first home game on April 25 when they welcome Woolpit.

To mark the start of the season, the club is hosting an open day next Saturday. As well as a second XI game against Foxton, the club has organised taster sessions, including one run by Essex County Cricket Club designed specifically for girls, kits sales and a second-hand bring and buy. Players will also be able to register for the season. The day will run from 10am-2pm.

Chairman David Barrs said: “It’s very different to what it used to be when it was just a registration day. It is now reflective of the direction the club is moving, which is a community focus.”

It’s not just the open day that has the club’s members and players optimistic for the new season.

Four years ago the club invested in a groundsman. It was money well-spent, according to Barrs, as the Playing Fields will this year host the MCC, Cambridge and two 2019 World Cup qualifying rounds.

“The ground is arguably the best in East Anglia and certainly in the league - it’s the reason the likes of Cambridge are coming here.”

This year, Walden have invested in a club coach. Matt Gouldstone, who will be moving to the area from Australia, will coach the club’s coaches to improve standards, lead sessions with the senior players and he will feature for the first team.

“It is a real investment in the future,” explained Barrs. “It is cause for optimism because there is better infrastructure at the club.

“We’re moving in the right direction and, as chairman, I’m certainly pleased because we’re building on the strong foundations that were already in place.”

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