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Old Buckenham captain confident side will be much improved from previous campaign in the Norfolk Cricket Alliance Premier Division

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Skipper Rob Thurley is confident Old Buckenham will be a different proposition this time around in the Norfolk Cricket Alliance Premier Division.

Back in 2018 Old Bucks endured a campaign to forget, one in which they finished bottom with just three victories coming from their 18 outings.

However, they bounced back in impressive fashion 12 months later, winning the Division One title by a margin of 56 points to Acle in second place. Covid-19 put paid to an immediate return to the top flight in 2020, but they are back this year and Thurley feels much more of a competitive term is in store.

Old Buckenham captain Rob Thurley. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Old Buckenham captain Rob Thurley. Picture: Mark Bullimore

“We struggled for a consistent team selection last time we were in it,” he said. “It seemed like we were having to pick a different side every week and injuries didn’t help with that.

“It felt like we’d got into a little bit of a rut and perhaps the relegation helped in a way.

“There is probably still five or six of that team still playing for us now, so we’ve freshened things up a little bit and that should help us as well.

“We aren’t setting targets or anything – the aim is just to win as many games as we can.”

Thurley is also content that the momentum generated from 2019’s promotion will remain intact, despite the fact no league cricket was played last year due to the pandemic.

Old Bucks did feature in a Norfolk Cricket Board-arranged competition and won their group, although the final could not be played because of the weather.

“Even though we were unable to get a full season in, we did play in that competition,” he added.

“We were successful as well, topped our group and it’s just a shame we didn’t get to play in the final.

“I feel like we’ve been able to keep that momentum continuing because we did well last year – our performances and results in our friendlies point to that.”

Bowler Charlie Tunstall will not feature for the club this season, having opted to return to Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division One outfit Worlington.

Nevertheless, the ranks have been boosted by the arrival of spinner Ben George from Walsham-le-Willows, while South African all-rounder Tim Niemand is also back having played for Old Bucks last year.

They start on the road tomorrow with a trip to the coast to take on Cromer (12pm).

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