Preview: Rebuilding St Albans looking to rebound

Matt Howeson drives one away

Matt Howeson drives one away - Credit: Archant

St Albans are in a rebuilding year, admitted captain Matt Howeson, but he still expects them to compete in Division 2A of the Herts Saracens League this season.

The team is quickly trying to forget last year’s relegation, although that is proving difficult with a penalty for an ineligible player meaning that they are already behind everyone else.

“We have been docked 50pts, which will make it more difficult but I’m confident we can get two quick wins and get back on a level playing field,” said Howeson.

“This season, our realistic aim is to get into a strong position to stay up. We would like to rebound but we’re also trying to drive the club forward.”

Howeson admitted the club has slipped from its perch as one of the county’s top teams over the last few seasons, but, with a strong Colts section and new coaches, he’s confident it can reclaim its former status.

“We’ve got a really strong Colts section so we’re focussed on bringing through young players. This season, we’re hoping to get four or five U16s in the second team and some U13s in the thirds,” he said.

“The first team will also have a much younger look to it.”

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He added: “We’ve brought in three qualified coaches from Australia to help support the development of the club. They will make the club more professional in our training, warm-ups and preparation for games.

“We’re building for the future.”

New recruits Sam Kindlen and Henry Tyler helped St Albans win their first and only pre-season match on Saturday, a nine-wicket win over Knebworth Park. They showed no signs of rust as Aaron Jones hit his first century for the club and Howeson carried his bat for 87.

“It was fantastic to get the win,” said Howeson.

St Albans travel to Northchurch on Saturday for their opening game of the season.