I am very honoured to be the first person to lead Oxford Downs 4th XI, which will very much be the foundation level of the club, introducing many of our talented young players to Cherwell League cricket for the first time.
Alongside a smattering of senior players, we will look to be as competitive as possible in Division 8C of the league.
Many of the teams that we will be up against will have joined from the OCA League, and some of these will be clubs’ first teams, which will no doubt be a huge, but exciting challenge for our younger players and experienced players alike.
Winning will certainly not be the be-all and end-all in the 4th XI, and we will primarily be focusing on participation, giving everyone ample opportunity to express themselves in organised league cricket for the first time, and always keeping in mind the spirit of cricket, being competitive, but always focusing on being a sporting team.
I have captained both Minster Lovell 2nd XI and Shipton 3rd XI over the years, and have some experience in running the teams in the lower echelons of a club, but this does in no way diminish the importance of what we are planning to bring to the club.
Many of the youngsters who will represent Oxford Downs in the 4th XI, will, over the years, go on to be key members of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd XIs, and I feel that a season or two of development in the newly-formed 4th XI will stand everybody in good stead.
For me, emerging from a seven-year long playing hiatus, my primary focus will be on enjoyment of the game and each other’s company, and ensuring that we all back each other to the hilt and develop that crucial team spirit which holds so many clubs in good stead.
It will be an exciting season for sure, and I am relishing the opportunity to see, and help to develop, some of Downs’ up and coming youngsters, and getting the best out of the veterans (also known as the experienced heads!).