Promising AJ given chance to shine for county side
JASON Harrison has predicted a bright future for Gerrards Cross CC’s AJ Woodland – despite his county debut lasting just five minutes, writes Tim Street.
Woodland was named in the Bucks CCC line-up for the first time for this week’s rain-affected draw against Bedfordshire at Luton, but lasted just nine balls and three runs, before being bowled.
However, Bucks director of cricket Harrison will keep faith in the youngster, who back in May smashed a load of school records when he hit an unbeaten 204 for St Edwards in Oxford.
Harrison said: “AJ has shown a lot of promise, and we feel he’s now ready to play at this level. He has an exceptional schools record, has been exceptional for our county U17s side, and has spent time with the Gloucestershire Academy.
“We’ve lost four key players from last season, with Shaan Khan and Sam Helm injured, Matt Rance unable to bowl and Charlie McDonnell joining Derbyshire, but it gives youngsters like AJ a chance to force their way in.”
Sadly, the weather prevented Woodland getting a bite of the cherry as a full day and a half of the three-day clash was lost, forcing both sides to forfeit an innings.
Bedfordshire had reached 194-4 at close of play on day one and did not resume until after lunch on day three, at which point they raced to 241-4 before declaring, giving Bucks 61 overs to reach the target.
Their reply got off to the worst possible start when Woodland’s early exit was followed by fellow opener Jack Scriven going for just two, and skipper Michael Payne also going for just five.
But a century from Shelvin Gumbs and an unbeaten 60 from Woodland’s Gerrards Cross team-mate Dan Hampton guided Bucks to a draw, 54 runs short of victory but with just three wickets remaining, when the overs ran out.
AJ Woodland made his first appearance for Bucks CCC Bright future: