Derriaghy Cricket Club get their season underway tomorrow (Saturday) away to Muckamore, who their skipper is pinpointing as the title favourites.
Last year’s Derriaghy Player of the Season Craig Lewis has stepped up to the captain’s role and he is hoping the change will make for an improved season for the local club after they finished a disappointing sixth in last season’s Ulster Bank League One.
David Skelton caught up with the skipper ahead of the season-opener.
What expectations do you have in your first year as captain?
CL - Very high expectations. When we begin our campaign I hope that all the boys will be singing off the same hymn sheet and are expecting the same.
Who do you see as your main challengers for the league and what are their strengths?
CL - It has to be Muckamore who we face first up this weekend. They have been the yoyo boys for the past few seasons and I know they will be looking to get back into the Premier League as soon as possible. They have made some very strong signings this year and with the capture of Ryan Haire who has been a stand out performer in the PL for as long as I can remember, it’s clear they will be title favourites.
Lurgan, Woodvale and Downpatrick are the other main challengers for league honours.
Which players do you feel under achieved for Derriaghy last season and what will you be expecting from them and others this time around?
CL - Most of the team under performed last season and as a result we only managed to finish joint sixth.
I am sure they will all back me up on that and I am hoping a change in captain this year can shake things up a bit and get the most out of the players.
Are there any new players at the club for the season ahead and are there any up and coming ones who we should be looking out for?
CL - There are no outstanding new faces to date but we are a very young team and along with our Seconds we have plenty to choose from this year so I am looking forward to seeing the boys competing for places.
I have high hopes for Peter Bell and Rob Cummins and will be expecting these guys to start proving themselves as they are both VERY talented players. I could go on with names of other talented players in our squad and they know what is needed.
Hopefully they will show us how good they actually are.
Your Indian player Alfie obviously plays a big part for the club and has fitted in well in his second spell at the club. Will you be expecting him to give you guidance during your first season as skipper?
CL - We know what to expect from a talented player like Alfie and he gives us what we need when we need it.
I am sure he will give me his twopence worth whenever he thinks I need it and along with long established players like former captains Andy Kenny and Matty Jennings I am pretty well set up for any guidance I may require.
What is your career highlight from your time at Derriaghy CC so far?
CL - Winning all 18 games to lift the League One title in 2006 is a good start.
We have also been to many cup finals in the past few years but have never come out on top – it’s about time we put that record straight!