Thewlis proud of players despite relegation from top flight

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ASHINGTON Cricket Club’s first XI skipper Michael Thewlis spoke of his disappointment after the Langwell Crescent club were relegated on Saturday – but nevertheless said that he was proud of the players.

“It has been a hard season, but we’ve come through it and although we’ve been relegated, I’m extremely proud of these players,” he said.

“They’ve given it there all, even though we’ve been losing week after week.

“In fact, across the club, we have a great bunch of players aged 25 or under who will be the bedrock of the club for the next ten to 15 years.

“Producing good, home-grown players has been our strength in the past 20 years, due to the commitment and work of our coaches, and it will allow us to build a new team for the next phase in the club’s history.”

However, Thewlis pin-pointed that his outfit were currently missing experienced players.

“Unfortunately, we’ve missed having some older, experienced players in the top order,” he said.

“As a result, we haven’t been able to find 200 plus scores this year, and have dropped a lot of bonus points – but we’ve also not been able to put batting sides under pressure when we have bowled second.”

Looking back at Saturday’s defeat by Swalwell, Thewlis said: “All our bowlers bowled well in difficult conditions.

“It was very warm, the run-ups were heavy, but they all ran in and gave it their all to bowl out a very good Swalwell side for 170.”

The skipper singled out 17-year-old Callum Storey.

“A special mention has to go to Callum for taking his first five-wicket haul for the first team,” he said.

“He bowled really well in his first spell and came back and bowled a superb line and length at the death.

“He has bowled well all season since coming into the team and got better in every game.

“He’s one of a half dozen players we have in the side who are aged under 19 and although it has been hard for them, they have all performed well this year and I am really optimistic about their futures as cricketers – and as a result, the future of the club.

“It’s a cliché, but the younger players will have learned a lot about what A1 cricket is about and it will stand them in good stead for next year.

“Perhaps in the long run, dropping down a division will do us some good.

“Instead of battling to stay in games, we should be able to dominate games and get our young players playing with confidence and ready to tackle the A1 division in a couple of years time.”