Mark Wood took time out to answer our questions on his debut as Avoncroft 2nd XI skipper, and the challenges ahead.
So how do you feel on taking the captaincy on?
A combination of nervous trepidation, excitement, fear and pride. I am lucky to have some very experience cricketers in the 2’s who have been with the club through thick and thin and know the club and playing staff inside out. To that point would just like to recognise the job Josh did last year as well as the likes of Martyn and Jase who I will most definitely “lean” on for this season. For me this is about maintaining the 2’s in their respective league and developing some of our younger cricketers to help push them forward to hopefully join the 1’s down the line. Above all I want everyone to enjoy it, irrespective of the result. We play because we love the game and enjoy the camaraderie within the dressing room and all the banter that this brings. We should not lose sight of this.
So how have you found the club since you joined us?
This is my 4th season with the club having being cajoled/coerced back into playing cricket having had a “sabbatical” for circa 25 years, courtesy of Mr Whitehead (junior). From day 1 the club has made me and my family really welcome which is a massive compliment to all the members of the club. It is a genuinely friendly and welcoming environment where people take the time to get to know you and help and support you where needed. This is not just for myself as stated but also my son who also plays and has really enjoyed playing cricket both the midweek team and also for the 2’s when required. As with any sports club, whether it be cricket or football, there are some big “characters” within the dressing room which adds to the fun, something I look forward too for this coming season. There are also a number of people who work incredibly hard for the club which should not go unrecognised. One thing we all should look to do is help and support these individuals in improving the facilities and running of the club not only for the current crop of players and members but for those new members down the line.
What are your expectations for this season ahead?
To be competitive and ensure we provide all our opponents a tough game but played in the right spirit. And mostly to enjoy it and recognise success where we get it and provide support and guidance to our younger members. They are the future of the club, not old duffers like myself. We have some seasoned campaigners at this level who, on their day, are as good as anybody in the league. If we can harness this with some of our younger players enthusiasm, energy and skills we should have a good season ahead of us. Obviously time will tell but let’s be positive.
What’s been happening in the off season?
Lots, and with more to come. Echoing what Jon Hunter has already commented on we have a number of initiatives underway both in terms of improving our facilities for both senior and junior sides as well as looking at ways and means to generate additional income. Again we need as many hands to help rather than relying upon the few but things are progressing which is always good.
The nets have been underway as has the Indoor Cricket league which is always the tell-tale sign we are getting close to the opening of a new season. Time to get the kit out and look at what new bits of kit you need for the first game of the season.
What are the challenges for the season?
Regular starting XI is the obvious answer here and would probably be the same for any club of similar size to ourselves. The 2nds obviously cannot work in isolation from the 1sts so there is no doubt going to be some juggling through the course of the season to make sure we have competitive teams. I believe there is more than enough talent in the club to be competitive in both our leagues providing we get a consistency in availability. Just getting one or two players to play a couple of extra games a season will be a massive help so fingers crossed we can manage this.
Great club, great people. If you’re looking for a warm, family friendly environment then you can’t do any better than Avoncroft. We would love to introduce more playing and non-playing members to our family so please spread the word. For those who are already part of our great club, let’s enjoy the season ahead and try and make it a success both on and off the field!
Mark Wood, 03/04/2018
Many thanks to Mark for taking the time out to answer the questions we put to him, and good luck on your first season as 2nd XI skipper.
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