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