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On Friday the 3rd of February East Grinstead Cricket Club were delighted to welcome the President of Sussex Cricket, David Bowden and new Chief Executive, Rob Andrew to Saint Hill for tea.
Former England Rugby International and RFU Executive, Rob Andrew also played First Class Cricket at Cambridge University and in his new role with Sussex was visiting East Grinstead on a fact-finding tour of senior Sussex Premier League Clubs.
Representing East Grinstead Cricket Club were Geoff Border, Acting Chairman with colleagues Richard Dewing, Acting Vice Chairman and Alan Collinge, the Clubs’ Sussex League representative.
In a wide-ranging discussion looking towards the future guardianship of Cricket in Sussex, the club were delighted at the warm reception that was given to its new mission statement and management structure, and in turn the club were much encouraged to hear Rob’s initial observations on the path ahead. The commitment of all round the table could be best summed up as the revitalised emphasis on increased participation and junior development to include high level coaching and a clear performance pathway to elite level, all targets already embedded at EGCC.
The Cricket Club looks forward with added vigour to an exciting future for Sussex Cricket and to a continuation of this fruitful on-going dialogue with the County.
Grinstead are busy preparing for the new season, which begins on Sunday with an ECB Knockout Cup game against Lordswood. That is followed by the first game in their defence of the Sussex T20 Cup, at Haywards Heath, before they host Billingshurst in their opening league match.
And Adkin says the Saint Hill outfit want to push for honours in the league, having come close in recent seasons with a succession of top-four finishes.
"We did so well in the cup last year that we focused on that and our performance dropped in the league, which was disappointing," he said.
"We want to win as many games as possible, whatever the competition, and we want to win a competition again this year.
"Every year we are up there in the league, finishing second or fourth in the last couple of years.
"We are up there as a strong club and the aim has got to be to push for every competition and every title."
And Adkin feels that, with the arrival of overseas star Carl Cachopa and young Sussex second XI wicketkeeper Leo Cammish, to add to a squad that can also boast Sussex bowlers Lewis Hatchett and Fynn Hudson-Prentice, Grinstead are well equipped to challenge.
says that the availability of key players will be important for Grinstead.
"It is a good bow to have in your armoury to have these players and when they are there with us warming up, it makes the other teams know they have a tough game ahead," he said.
"We realise that we won't have them every game, although it breeds confidence for us when they are around."
DAVID TURNER wants East Grinstead to become the pre-eminent cricket club in Sussex.
Turner has taken over from Alan Evans as chairman of the Saint Hill club, with the aim of building on the momentum of recent seasons, including the Sussex T20 cup success for both the first and second XIs at Hove last year.
And Turner wants Grinstead to win the Sussex Premier Division title at first XI level, adding that it is a clear objective for the club.
"We had good success last season and the win at Hove was fantastic, and great profile for us," he said.
"The real test is winning the league title at first team level and one of the objectives we have set ourselves is to be the pre-eminent club in the county.
"That is to not just win the title, but to retain that title and for it not to be a one-off.
"That success will then hopefully cascade down through the club."
Grinstead have come close in the past few seasons, finishing second and fourth in the past two campaigns, but Turner believes that Will Adkin's side have the right ingredients to challenge for honours this year, with Carl Cachopa joining as the club's overseas player and Leo Cammish coming in as wicketkeeper.
"If you look at last year, there were a few ifs and buts and I think that we are not that far away," he said.
"You get a couple of things right and strong performances from our leading players, a bit of luck, an umpiring decision and if you put all that together, we will be right in the mix.
"We don't want to be in the situation of being second or third, and there was genuine disappointment last year that we did not push harder.
"Fair play to Roffey, they played well and they had a good side, but I don't think that week in, week out they are a better side than us.
"We will continue to push Preston Nomads and Horsham, who have been traditionally the strongest sides, but we know that we can go toe-to-toe with them.
"I think they will come here and be genuinely worried, and see it as one of their biggest games of the season.
"We will have to perform on those big occasions, but under Will's leadership, we have the right ingredients.
"Inevitably you get injuries and people being called up to the county, but we have a strong squad and there is strength in depth."
East Grinstead begin the new campaign on Sunday, April 26, when Lordswood visit Saint Hill in the ECB Knockout Cup.
DAVID TURNER says he is relishing seeing East Grinstead's new overseas signing Carl Cachopa in action this season.
Cachopa - the older brother of Sussex batsman Craig Cachopa - has signed for Grinstead for the 2015 season, having spent time playing for the Auckland Aces in New Zealand's domestic cricket.
And Grinstead's new chairman says he is looking forward to seeing the 28-year-old all-rounder, who has represented New Zealand A, playing at Saint Hill.
He said: "It has been an important fabric of the team for the last few years, with overseas players.
"There is an element of risk with it in how they settle and how they fit in coming from Australia or wherever, where the conditions are different.
"There will be a settling in period, but at 28 Carl brings an extra maturity and that will be a great help to captain Will Adkin.
"He has played for New Zealand A and is an all-rounder, who will probably bat at number three for us.
"He can bowl too and may well come on at first or second change and it will be good to have him here.
"He is looking forward to coming and having his brother gives a focal point for him socially.
"It is important that these guys settle in and I think we have been a good place to come."
Cachopa is set to arrive in England in the first week in May, with Grinstead's first Sussex Premier Division game against Billingshurst on Saturday, May 9.