Oc­ca­sional ti­tle wins are great - but I want us to win it with more fre­quency

Southport Visiter - - Celebrations - BY PAUL ED­WARDS

ORM­SKIRK have been crowned cham­pi­ons of the Liverpool Gin Liverpool Com­pe­ti­tion ev­ery third sea­son since 2008 and new skip­per Nicky Caunce aims to put a stop to it.

Now please don’t get the wrong idea. Caunce has cel­e­brated all four ECB Pre­mier League ti­tles with gusto and hopes to en­joy plenty more.

But he wants the Brook Lane club to pick up the tro­phy with even greater fre­quency over the next few years.

He ac­cepts they could start in 2018 sim­ply by re­tain­ing the ti­tle, a feat only Boo­tle have man­aged in the 34 sea­sons since 1983, and he knows even that will not be easy.

For one thing, Orm­skirk will have to win the ti­tle with­out their opener, Mikey Jones, who scored 748 league runs in the sum­mer but has now signed a one-year Se­nior Academy con­tract with Durham and will be play­ing his club cricket for Tynemouth in 2018.

For an­other, there are a gag­gle of clubs who have their eyes on Orm­skirk’s crown and are spend­ing the au­tumn re­cruit­ing the play­ers they need to help them do it.

At first glance, Orm­skirk them­selves have added only the 21-yearold for­mer North­ern and Lytham all­rounder, Ryan Mad­dock, to the squad which reached the fi­nal of the 2017 Royal Lon­don Club Cham­pi­onship.

But Caunce, ever the club man, points out that Andy Gill and Josh Thomp­son have also joined and he is con­fi­dent some of Brook Lane’s ti­tlewin­ning se­cond-team crick­eters will be hop­ing to nab slots in the flag­ship eleven.

“It’s easy to say that we won ev­ery­thing last year, so we’ll be okay next,” he said. “We know peo­ple want to beat the cham­pi­ons, so we’ll need to keep our lev­els of per­for­mance high and stay hun­gry for 22 Satur­days.”

Some peo­ple might point to the seven tro­phies won by Orm­skirk in the sea­son just ended and sug­gest their play­ers are al­ready pretty wellfed but Caunce reck­ons his play­ers’ ap­petite for suc­cess re­mains keen.

“We have some promis­ing ju­niors in the se­cond team and they know what level they need to reach next sea­son to be in that first team,” he said.

“Alex Rankin had a taste of what first-team cricket was about and he’ll get more op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Jack Snow­den is coach and he’s been a great in­flu­ence over the past two years. We train at a higher level and that we all know what we need to do.

“It’s not just a case of turn­ing up, hav­ing a net and go­ing home.”

And rather than re­gret Jones’s move to Durham, Caunce re­gards it as fur­ther proof that his club is ful­fill­ing one of its prime ob­jec­tives: that of de­vel- op­ing first-class crick­eters.

“He points to the ex­am­ple of Le­ices­ter­shire’s Gavin Grif­fiths as fur­ther ev­i­dence of the suc­cess of the Brook Lane nurs­ery.

“Mikey is a mas­sive loss but he’s def­i­nitely got the po­ten­tial to be a county crick­eter,” said Caunce.

“I played along­side him when he first came into the first team when he was 16 and the dif­fer­ence be­tween him then and now is ex­tra­or­di­nary.”

“But his suc­cess shows we can pro­duce play­ers ca­pa­ble of step­ping onto the big­ger stage.

“Then again, one of the main aims of our club is to pro­duce county crick­eters.

“It’s one of the many things on which we pride our­selves.”

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