It’s only the third week of May and already Bagenalstown CC has eight fixtures under their belt. After the highs of last season with two teams gaining promotion and the Third team completing an inaugural season in the Leinster League things have, naturally, been a bit more difficult this season.
The First team are finding the going very tough this season. The enforced absence of some of last year’s leading performers have meant the teams, indeed the clubs, main weakness of batting strength has been savagely exposed. These absences, allied to the step up in standard, have proven a difficult one for the Firsts to overcome. There is no lack of talent in the team, ably lead by Nadun Jasinghe. Shane O Neill has already recorded a five wicket haul this season and is bowling with his usual fire. The only batman currently looking in good form is Zahir Uddin who has top scored for both the First and the Second team already this season. More support is needed for him though. It is still only two matches in though and with some players due to become available the next few weeks can be approached with more confidence.
The Second team malaise is strikingly similar to that of the First team. There is much more to be confident and positive about here though. While four matches have gone and only one win recorded the performances have at least been positive and improving week on week. Darren Purcell is showing a return to the outstanding form at the top of the order that he showed last season and Zahir Uddin has been a real boost to the batting. Richie Duffin continues to show that class is permanent. Indeed only for an injury suffered by Richie in the last outing Bagenalstown would undoubtedly have won the match rather than suffering an agonising two run loss. The bowling is as ever a strength of this side with the various paces and talents of Waqar Khan, Diarmuid Power, Michael Dick, the evergreen Ray Stapleton and his own slow right arm available to skipper, Mat Baker.
On a very positive note the Third team have already recorded two wins in three matches, these being the first wins in the league for this fledgling team. If last season was a success in participation captain Stephen Hadley is looking for a harder and more competitive edge to his team this season. The honeymoon is over! He has been rewarded with some excellent performances from the young bloods in the team: Liam Foot and Stevie Hadley showing some realisation of their promise. Although still only in his mid-teens Robbie O Neill is something of a veteran at this stage and is showing the value of his experience with at top score of 44 in the first victory for this side while also earning selection to the second team as a result of his prowess with the ball. The team is an eclectic mix of young and not so young which is providing a rich vein of future talent for the club.
We are delighted to welcome a fresh influx of new players this season that have been vital in replacing some of the talent that has been lost for one reason or another. New players always bring a fresh buzz about a club and add a new and different perspective that can shake the place up. The club is currently in such a healthy position in the area of members that a Fourth team has been added this season. Under the guiding hand of Ed Hart this side, it is hoped, will provide another outlet for those wishing to play cricket in County Carlow. The team, as well as introducing further developing players to the game is also aimed at those who would prefer their cricket without that sharp edge as played in the leagues.
To that end we are looking for players, both new and previously used and loved to come along and get on board one of the most welcoming clubs in Leinster. It is an exciting time at this club as it grows and develops and the more we have to share this message with, the better!
Training continues on Tuesday & Thursday evenings at 6pm at the clubhouse in McGrath Park.
With thanks to Bagenalstown Cricket Club