Woodley CC keep faith with youthBy Adam Lee
May 02, 2012
Despite getting relegated from the Premier Division last season, new Woodley captain Amjad Ali insists the club is still focused on maintaining its policy of blooding youth.
Woodley have always been renowned for giving young players first team opportunities as early as possible, and for years it has worked well.
And although a new crop of talented ex-colts made the step up last season, it coincided with Woodley dropping down to Division 1.
But a year older and wiser, Ali (pictured right) insists that these players have the talent to fire the Woodford Park side back into the top flight at the first time of asking.
With players like opening left-arm bowler Jawwad Raja, Jamil Anjum and the 2012 young player of the season Taalish Khan ready to make an impact, the skipper is confident of success.
That is as long as the 30-day Ramadan festival, which starts in mid-July, doesn’t affect his team selections too heavily.
“Pre-season has gone really well –we’ve had winter nets from January and have been practising a lot earlier than normal,” said Ali, a 27-year-old all-rounder.
“The plan is to get back into the Premier Division and also get our 2nd team firmly established in Division 2. We want to get back to where we belong.
“We are not driven by results, though, more by good cricket and enjoyment.
“We have a youth policy of trying to give everyone a go and every year we have one or two players in the running for the Berkshire young player of the year.
“We want to give them every opportunity to develop their potential. We’re going to be scuppered during Ramadan, so it is essential that we have a good start.
“Both our teams are generally very mixed, but sometimes our first team can be almost all Asian, while it is also right in the middle of the holiday season so it will be a double hit for us.
“We will just have to dip into the 2s and the colts section.”
A youthful Woodley side will be at full-strength for their opener with Farley Hill on Saturday.
Their opponents are perhaps the oldest and most experienced team in the league, and Ali believes that the contrast in stylescould make for an intriguing encounter.
“We know that Farley Hill are pretty much the opposite of us,” he said.
“They have a lot of experienced heads in the team and they know exactly what they’re doing so that will be an interesting battle.
“I think they will suit a wet wicket more than us though.”