Shake-up to put Green back on track

First published in Sport

BARNT Green CC have undergone a major shake-up ahead of the 2014 season.

The club have have made radical changes to the first team and committee during their 125th year.

Stalwart Paul Clarke, who was previously team manager, takes over from Bernard Hampson as chairman.

Clarke have been involved with Barnt Green for over 60 years and during his time has been first and second team skipper, as well as ground chairman.

After a successful period in charge of the club's burgeoning junior section, Colin Banton replaces Gerry Cowley as chairman.

Clarke said: "Every now and again you have to inject some energy into the club and the new committee is a bit younger.

"You have to have continuity as well and with my years with the club I will be able to add that.

"It has been 25 years since we celebrated our centenary but it has been the most successful periods in the club's history.

"We've been one of the leading sides in the Birmingham League and won almost every competition.

"We would love to go all the way in the National Knockout Cup, it's a tournament we've came close in on several occasions and generates a lot of excitement."

Worcestershire's deputy groundsman Damon Willetts has also joined the club after Gordon Hudson retired, although he will still be available to lend his expertise.

Meanwhile, the firsts have been radically revamped ahead of the Birmingham Premier.

Wicket keeper Adam Smith has retired, Steve Bevan has become skipper at Water Orton, Craig Crowe has moved to Leicestershire, while Nick Powell and Jack Williams have switched to Brockhampton and Wombourne respectively.

Kieran Rees cannot play because of work commitments, while Richard Wilkinson has decided to play for a club nearer his home in Manchester.

Batsman Luke Radford and wicketkeeper Sam Cheshire have joined Barnt Green from Leamington, Tom Brown returns to the club after a year at Wombourne, while Worcestershire Academy's Daryll Williams comes on board.

Highly-rated Warwickshire batsman Sam Hain will be available if he is not playing for the county, while Ed Pollock and Tom Burton remain.

Alistair Pollock will be available later in the season as he is currently playing or Cambridge University, while Warwickshire academy youngster Tom Banton will also play a part.

Vice captain Nathan Newport has also taken up the director of cricket role.

Captain Andy Sutton said: "It has been a big winter for the club and there have been quite a few changes.

"We've seen a lot of players leave on good terms and also seen quite a few come in.

"We wanted to focus on a younger side of players who lived a bit closer.

"Last season we had players who were doing a lot of travelling and it was hard to work on things in the week.

"If you want to do well in the league and compete with Kidderminster and Walsall, you have to prepare properly."

Green commence the season at home against Knowle and Dorridge on Saturday, April 26 (noon start).

On Saturday, they beat Berkswell by three wickets in the Graham Williamson Trophy.

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