As ever it is no secret how difficult it can be to put together a competitive team in the local leagues these days and over the last few years we have found it as difficult as anyone.
There has always been talk of 'let's get in there early', 'let's identify what we need', 'let's not be wondering what we are going to do in March'. However unfortunately due to the popularity of some players, financial demands or circumstances not being right many previous targets have slipped through the net.
However.... This time around the committee folk (who have all aged ten years in the last 3 months) were on the ball. They had a good understanding of who and what they felt that they wanted but also sounded out current club members to see if they agreed with their ideas. We also wanted players that current players could relate to and hopefully want to share a team with whilst also making the team even stronger after what has been our strongest year to do date since the last reformation of the NTSL where the 1st X1 won more games and gained more points than ever before...
Central to that success was a man called Kamran Mansoor, By now we assume everyone knows who 'King' Kamran is and just what he is capable of. His destructive batting made him the league's leading run scorer for the season as well as finishing just outside the top 10 wicket takers with his more than handy medium pace. 3 centuries in the league and an average of 56 made him more than a little desirable to many teams beside ourselves. Objective one was to retain his services immediately as the lads all love playing alongside him, the fans love to watch him and the juniors aspire to play like him. Based on all of that we ensured that we did just that and brought the big man back for a fourth season at Blackfyne which didn't prove to be a difficult decision to make.
Our second signing of the close season is someone who has been recommended to us on a couple of occasions but for various reasons has never gained momentum in the past. However after his club for 2017 had been relegated it was apparent he was looking for a change. The man in question is Hassan Raza. He has amassed just under 6000 runs across 8 seasons in the NTSL at an average of 48.78 as well as taking 221 wickets at an average of just over 17 which meant this too was not a very difficult decision to make knowing that he was interested in joining up.
Our third signing was quite a highly anticipated one. Having set top cricket agent Andrew Forster into action a few months ago with the task of getting this man on board it was a nervous wait to see if we could get this one over the line. 'Good Player' would be the immortal words if Harry Redknapp had much cricketing knowledge and we certainly don't think his ability would be getting compared to that of Sandra! Regarded as one of the league's standout players of the last 15 years and a man with true all-round capabilities having taken over 650 wickets and scored over 7500 runs, the one that will possibly turn the most heads is a return to his roots for Stuart Graham. Excellent work from agent Forster and maybe good work for his helpers Dixon and Hunter on this occasion. Team-work makes the dream work and all that nonsense.
A very warm welcome to Hassan and Stuart and a big welcome back to Kamran. We hope that this can help to push the team on even further and we will continue to work hard to capture any other signings that we think might be possible before the middle of April 2018.
However with all good news can come some not so good news. Daniel 'Rodders' Milligan has departed to ply his trade at Bill Quay for logistical reasons, those being he lives a stones throw from their ground and hopes to take a more active part with living much closer. And the most recent revelation is that junior member Matthew Kerswell is to depart Blackfyne for Greenside again due to his living location being in much closer quarters to their ground than ours. We thank all three for the contributions that they have made and have no doubt that they would all be welcomed back to Blackfyne at some point were it come about.
We are already looking forward to the 2018 season and it's still many months away but we hope that this will excite plenty others too and that we can hopefully make more announcements over the coming months......