Captain Sam Anderson is backing his Collingham side for a bright future after his young troops were valiant in defeat against a bunch of former Test stars on Sunday.
Collingham’s young charges performed admirably against the exhibition side Lashings XI, which included legends of the game Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Herschelle Gibbs and Saqlain Mushtaq.
Mushtaq smashed a half century and Lashings captain, and Ashes winner, Phil Defreitas grabbed five wickets to entertain the bumper Harewood Road crowd and compound Collingham to a 66-run defeat.
But despite failing in their runchase, Anderson was left smiling afterwards at the performance of his largely teenage outfit.
Anderson said: “It was a great experience. We used 15 players throughout the day, and nearly half of those were juniors. They are not just making up numbers. On a Saturday they are contributing and they did so again.
“It has been a real showcase of what we are trying to do as a club. That’s what I am really proud of.”
Collingham will be back playing Aire-Wharfe cricket this weekend, with their eyes firmly set on a Waddilove Cup semi-final place on Sunday.
Anderson’s men host Ben Rhydding, and the skipper has targeted a final spot in the competition this year, alongside survival in Division One. But first, they must head to Guiseley on Saturday and attempt to overturn their 77-run opening day humbling.
The young side will go to the West Yorkshire side full of confidence, however, after climbing out of the relegation zone on Saturday with victory over top of the table Otley.
Stephen James (3-46), Toby Jacklin (4-37) and 16-year-old Adam Wetherall (3-40) all starred with the ball as Otley were dismissed for just 160.
And despite collapsing to 103-6 in their chase, juniors Ed Hayhurst (20) and Tom Deane (32no) shared a half-century stand to see them home.
It was a much needed victory for Anderson’s boys, and they moved above Ben Rhydding at the foot of the table.
Anderson added: “It was a really tough game against Otley. We made early inroads against a good batting line-up and got a few batters in that haven’t been batting for them.
“Adam Wetherall, got three-for with the new ball and then Toby and Steve got the other seven.
“Steve is becoming one of the best bowlers in the league. He’s perhaps under-rated by other teams, because, he’ll say himself, that he hasn’t been our best player over the years.
“After the inevitable Collingham collapse, I wasn’t sure if the young lads would be able to do it. I know they are good players, but it’s a big step up. But Ed Hayhurst and Tom Dean put on nearly 50 and won us the game.”
lSee pages 16-17 for more photos from Sunday’s hosting of the Lashings XI.