Youthful exuberance will be at the heart of Harrogate Cricket Club’s assault on the final ever Yorkshire League title, according to bullish new captain George Ross.
After taking the reins from Ryan Bradshaw at the end of last season, Leeds Beckett University student Ross has assembled a talented bunch he expects to challenge for honours this summer.
We want it to be a massive year for the club”George Ross
Harrogate fell away from the top of the table fight in Bradshaw’s final season and instead turned to blooding younger members of the club.
But Ross has made an array of new recruits as he bids to write the club’s name in the history books before the Yorkshire League is disbanded.
“We want it to be a massive year for the club, and the players will be putting everything into it to establish a team that’s going to be successful,” said the captain.
Overseas Connor Ryan will open the batting alongside fellow newbie Jimmy Latham – formerly of minor counties side Hertfordshire.
Fast bowler Russell White – brother of Northants bowler Graeme White - has also signed, but will miss the opening day of the season with tonsillitis.
He will be replaced by 16-year-old Cameron O’Donnell, who impressed in Saturday’s thumping pre-season victory over Bilton.
“We worked out our average squad age is about 20.5, which is quality,” said Ross.
“Most of our players have played age group representative cricket or been part of academies, so what we lack in age, we don’t really lack in experience.
“Being young, we have a very fit fielding team. I’m hoping to bring that professional side of the game right throughout the club.”
New opening batsman Latham said: “I can’t contain my excitement for the season. I hope I’m able to show my skills off and flourish into the cricketer I know I can be.”
Fast bowler Tom Geeson-Brown added: “I’m really looking forward to the season. I’m hoping to do as well as last year and hopefully we can challenger for the title.”
Yorkshire Academy will go into the season as favourites to reproduce their league winning run last year, despite losing several of the squad’s England U19s players.
Ross believes York will also provide their usual stern opposition, whilst also predicting a tight title chase.
Harrogate start up against last season’s bottom side Sheffield United, at a prime-looking St George’s Road.
“I want to start very dominant. It’s one of our main motos this season, that there is no complacency. We want to be as ruthless as possible.
“We have a very talented side and even though it’s a new side, with the ability we have, we should steam-roll some sides.
“Hopefully we will get off to a really strong start and lay down a marker as a force to be reckoned with.”
Probable team: Connor Ryan; Jimmy Latham; Jonny Tattersal; George Ross; Jack Potter; David Foster; Tom Geeson Brown; Elliot Keenan; Ashley Griffiths; Sam Davies; Cameron O’Donnell.