HAMBROOK Cricket Club start their pre-season preparations this coming Sunday (February 4), when their seniors commence indoor training at Yate International Academy (6-7pm).

The sessions will be overseen by ECB level three coach Neil Higginson. New players would be warmly welcomed.

A disappointing 2017 season saw their first XI relegated down into Bristol and District Division One.

However they are hoping to bounce back with Alex Dyer taking over the captaincy from elder brother Lee.

“Yes, 2017 was hugely disappointing. So many close games in which we didn’t get over the line” commented Alex.

He added: “There were a number of other reasons behind our relegation. The overseas player falling through was a major factor but also other experienced players not being available and some of us simply struggled with the step up in standard. We’ve got a squad that has all the assets, we just need everyone to dig deep when it gets tough”.

Those thoughts are shared by Chairman Martin Dyer. “We set up a five year plan to be back playing in tier four of the league pyramid structure when I took over as Chairman in 2015, the fact we did that in just two years was a fantastic achievement.

The relegation last season was a quite painful experience, but it did show everyone what was needed to play at that higher level”.

He also offered the following thoughts about the new season, saying: “I think 2018 will be a another year of positive change for the club. We have a fantastic ground, run four senior sides, have a great youth set up and good clubhouse.

"I know there are many clubs out there who would love to be able to offer what we have. We are extremely appreciative of what we have and must remember not to take it for granted”.

The clubs other senior sides will also be looking to push on in 2018. The second XI secured a commendable fourth place in Division Eight last year and the third XI continue to do well down in Division 13 with its eclectic mix of seasoned seniors and youth players just getting into senior cricket.

The clubs Sunday XI in 2018 have decided to return to social, friendly matches rather than a league format.

Fixtures this year will include a match against a ‘Hambrook Legends’ XI and a very prestigious day of cricket against the Great Britain Transplant Cricket Club on June 10.

Off the field the club have recruited Neil Higginson as Vice Chairman. “I was really pleased when Neil agreed to come on board in a more formal role” reflected Martin Dyer, “having acted as our head coach for the past few years, his knowledge of cricket plus management and business skills will be a huge asset as we plan into 2018 and beyond”.

Not to be outdone the clubs youth section also start their pre-season training on Saturday 17th February at Yate International Academy (2-4pm). Running for six weeks, the sessions will be overseen by the clubs ECB qualified Level Two coaches.

The club will again run age group squads in 2018 from under sevens to under 17’s and would love to hear from anyone wanting to join. Boys and Girls from age five upward are able to join.

They will also be embarking on a new initiative with the ECB All Stars Cricket. This will be aimed at introducing cricket for the first time to children between ages 5-8.

For anyone wanting to join Hambrook CC or require further information please contact Martin Dyer 07913 924072 (seniors), Rich Carter 07450 264575 (Youth) or email: hambrookcricket@gmail.com