CRICKET: Town hope revamp can lead to a title challenge

PUBLISHED: 10:39 21 April 2017

Godmanchester batsman Matt Durrant,

Godmanchester batsman Matt Durrant,

Archant

New skipper Matt Durrant hopes a major winter revamp can turn Godmanchester Town into title contenders again.

The local outfit are keen to regain a Cambs & Hunts Premier League title they last won in 2015.

Godmanchester drifted down into mid-table last summer, but a number of new recruits should ensure they are challenging again this summer.

Former Pakistani first-class player Nadeem Nazar is their new overseas ace. The 44-year-old leg spinner becomes the second former Portuguese international on the club’s books, along with high-scoring opener Tariq Aziz.

Godmanchester certainly won’t be short of spin options with former Cambridge MCCCU man Amit Gupta also arriving.

Kiwi batsman Landon Neal, who has captained Hawke’s Bay at regional level in his homeland and boasts a British passport, is another addition. Other new faces are bats-man Rameez Mahmood and all-rounder Mohammed Raheel, who are both from the Peterborough area.

Durrant said: “The club is under-going a revamp on and off the field, and we’re looking to make big strides forward in 2017. We’ve brought five new guys in at first-team level and that will have a knock-on effect in strengthening throughout.

“The ultimate aim is to win the title and we certainly hope to be competing at the top end of the table.

“It certainly won’t be easy, though. Foxton were deserving winners last year and have strengthened, while Wisbech and Ramsey are sure to be strong again.

“We’re confident we can be in the mix and we’ll do everything we can to get the new players settled in as quickly as possible.”

Durrant has previously skippered St Ives - the side his team face in their opener this Saturday. He has has succeeded Paul Swannell, who will focus solely on playing, at

Godmanchester.

South African batsman Jarryd Phillips and classy all-rounder Simon Rose are the only departures from Godmanchester.

Rose has made the short switch to a Ramsey side who were the pick of the locals at this level last season. Michael Cafferkey’s men had to settle for a fourth-placed finish in the end as their title challenge petered out after topping the table early on.

He’s optimistic of another tilt at honours this time around.

“Hopefully we can be up there again,” said Cafferkey. “We’ve added a good player in Simon and my brother, another Simon, is also back after only playing one game last year.“It looks a tough league as usual. We’ve played Wisbech and Eaton Socon in friendlies, and they will both be strong.

“Then you’ve got the likes of Foxton, Saffron Walden and Godmanchester who are always up there.

“We had quite a few injuries last year which hurt us and prevented us from having a settled side. Consistency is a big thing and hope-fully we can have that this summer.”

Cafferkey is actually suspended for his side’s first game - away to Wisbech this Saturday - after being deemed to have failed to control his players after a game against champi-ons Foxton last season.

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