Fresh bowling attack can help Worlington’s top-three pursuit

HIGH HOPES: The Worlington team pose for the camera ahead of the weekend's friendly at Burwell
HIGH HOPES: The Worlington team pose for the camera ahead of the weekend's friendly at Burwell
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For Worlington, their exploits of 2016 are going to be a tough act to follow.

By finishing in fourth position, Richard Ford’s men racked up their highest return of points for a single Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Division One campaign.

However, a busy period of recruitment, coupled with those that have remained from last season’s impressive performance, has Ford targeting further records being broken this time around.

Third place is the initial aim, but — while also remaining cautious — the skipper feels there is perhaps scope for even more improvement.

“First up, we want to go one better than last year,” he said.

“The plan each year is to always improve on what has gone before and that has not changed.

“A lot is going to depend on the start we make to the season, but as a team, we should be vying for third place.”

Asked if his men should have even higher aspirations, Ford replied: “I am not going to say we should be challenging for the title, that would not be right.

“But, I would say we have got a very strong squad that is capable of having a real go if we all perform to the levels we can.

“There are still some very good teams in the league. Wivenhoe and Witham will be strong like always, but hopefully we will not be far behind them.”

Much of Ford’s confidence centres around the club’s off-season additions, with Craig Estlea (Woolpit), Ziaf Kusali (Mildenhall) and Tom Osborn (unattached) all signing on the dotted line.

But, it is the arrivals of New Zealander Cody Golding and Charlie Tunstall from Earl Stonham — both bowlers — that Ford is backing to give Worlington the killer instinct with the ball that, on occasions, they previously lacked.

“We made getting a bowler or two in our major priority,” he added.

“We got into some really good positions last year but then we could not knock over the tail.

“It let teams off the hook and allowed them to add more runs than they should have scored.

“Cody is an exciting overseas from Auckland and Charlie is another really good opener — both are what we needed.”

In terms of outgoings, bowler Sean Cooper has opted to step up a level with Bury St Edmunds, while Kiwi Ben Hyde has also departed.

After recent friendly fixtures against Downham, Burwell and Tuddenham, Worlington get under way competitively on Saturday with a home clash against Frinton-on-Sea II (12.30pm).

The Essex side won both encounters between the sides last season by four and three-wicket margins.