McLean believes Radlett can finish near the top of Premier Division table

Fraser Crawford edges one into a gap

Fraser Crawford edges one into a gap - Credit: Archant

Radlett CC captain Jonathan McLean believes his side can finish near the top of the table in the first ever Saracens Herts Premier Division season.

The Cobden Hill based club topped Division Two East of the Home Counties Premier Cricket League (HCPCL) after a season of ruthless bowling and marauding batting. This year, however, they will compete in the SHPD after the Hertfordshire teams broke away to form a new league.

“I’m very excited for the new format,” McLean said.

“It will be a good test and it introduces a few new teams that we’ve never played, which strengthens the league. It’s going to be very competitive, but we have a really good chance to be near the top.

“I would love to win it but we need to make sure we’re not complacent.”

Last season behind the batting of Fraser Crawford and Kabir Toor, Radlett demoralised their opponents by setting huge targets before unleashing their unrelenting bowling attack, which more often than not tore though the batting line-up. The tactic saw them put together a run of 14 consecutive wins, a club record.

While it worked perfectly last summer, McLean is not expecting a repeat performance this time round.

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“Fraser and Kabir were phenomenal last season – they put so many runs of the board at the start of games,” he explained.

“Ideally they’ll carry on from where they left off but realistically we can’t expect them to have the same kind of season. We need the rest of the batting line-up to be ready and take the chances given to them.”

Last term the skipper attributed the success to the team’s preparation before the season and, while the weekend’s games were cancelled, he said his side has enjoyed a good pre-season.

“Last weekend’s games were rained off which is frustrating but we looked good in our game against Chorleywood the week before and won comfortably [by eight wickets],” he said.

“Ideally, the batters would have had more hits but training has been going well and we’ll meet again on this week before the game.”

He added: “We’re going well; we have a pretty strong squad. It’s similar to last year except one new player, Randeep Sanghera who has joined us after moving to the area.”

Radlett start the season with a trip to Sawbridgeworth on Saturday, the same place they ended the last campaign. On the day Sawbridgeworth won after bowling Radlett out for just 66 runs.

If Radlett are to avoid a defeat they must keep it simple, according to McLean.

“We need to do the basics well and if we all do that then, as a team, we’ll have a good day.”

Saturday’s game starts at 12.30pm.