OAs CC hoping for better in 2011

CRICKET: OLD Albanian Cricket Club is hoping 2011 is the start of a new era for the club.

Last season was one to forget for the club as both the first and second XI suffered relegation from their respective leagues.

The first XI will compete in Division Three of the Saracens Herts League. The second string, after two successive relegations, will line up in Division Seven, while the thirds will again compete in Division Eleven.

Among a number of new appointments, in a bid to reverse its fortunes, the club has engaged former Essex and England fast bowler Mark Ilott as head coach. Club captain David Rourke, another new appointment who is returning to the club after a spell living in Melbourne, is realistic about the challenges facing OAs: “We’ve punched below our weight ever since the move to Woollams in 2002, and last season’s relegation for the 1st XI followed five final-day relegation escapes in the previous eight years. So it was disappointing but not a surprise to finally go through the trapdoor. Having eight 1st XI skippers and numerous coaches since 2005 has caused instability throughout the senior sides, something which we’re looking to stop. To that end, having Mark on board to support Ravi Vijh as 1st XI captain is a huge boost to everyone, and hopefully will allow the cricket club to follow the lead of the rugby club and fulfil its huge potential.”

OAs also hopes to run a fourth Saturday side playing friendlies this year, with a view to re-joining the Saracens Herts League in the near future, and have friendly fixtures lined up for 50 per cent of the available Sundays during the season.

The Woollams based club also has a thriving youth section, and has been over-subscribed in recent years at several age group levels.

OAs are keen to recruit players for their senior teams for the new season and anybody who is interested should contact the club via their website, www.oacricket.com or call David Rourke on 07725975713. “Anyone who is looking to play is welcome to enquire and come along to Woollams, the only thing that we ask is for players to commit themselves to playing and practicing as much as they can” added the club captain.