2014 CSL Western Premier preview - week 1
The Western Union League season starts on Saturday and it hasn’t come soon enough for the reigning Champions Uddingston CC.
Bryan Clarke, Uddingston skipper, said “we’ve had a very positive start to the season and are in a good place at the moment. We’ll be strong again this year and although we only have one new player in Andrew Umeed he is a serious cricketer and, for an 18 year old, he is an exceptional talent. He’ll be with us for the first few weeks before joining up with Warwickshire, but we have Gavin Bradley, an Uddy stalwart, back and David Bill, arguably the best leg-spinner in the country, back after a year where he lost interest.
Clarke when on to note the impact Professional/Coach Matt McEwan has had on the club already. “He’s a club man and everything we hoped for in a pro off the field. He’s a club man who loves coaching and has brought a real freshness and intensity to our cricket.”
Uddingston don’t lack for experience with Bawa, Gul, McKenzie, Rai, Allan, Martin and Sammy Zia all still performing well but at 2nd XI level there are some useful younger players who are starting to push the old guard and that can be no bad thing for the Bothwell outfit particularly with the intense schedule ahead.
The looming presence of the Commonwealth Games weighs heavily on the Western Union this season with real disruption expected in July and early August, so much so that the League season was reluctantly split into two. Although on-field matters have been interrupted though, Uddingston are one of many clubs who have seized the opportunity to bring some much needed income to the club. The Policies will host tents instead of fielders for a fortnight this summer but in the current climate no club can afford to reject these opportunities.
All isn’t entirely rosy in the Uddingston garden though as Bryan Clarke opined, “we’ve got the new rules this season which perhaps strengthen some sides but we have eleven guys who all have a role to play. I think it will be a backward step if we return to the days of four guys bowling all the overs and batting at the top of the order but hopefully clubs will look at this in a similar vein and make sure there are opportunities for all.
Elsewhere in the League, Clarke sees some strong opposition but remains convinced it’s what his own club do that will decide how their season pans out. “We’re not too bothered about what’s happening elsewhere, Clydesdale seem to have recruited well and we have a tough start away at Ayr and then at West,” where Clarke thinks they will face the best attack in the country.
He concluded, ”the important thing for us is to not stand still having waited 79 years for that title. It would have been easy for us to have the same pro and do the same things this year but we’re continually looking to improve and with Calum MacLeod and Gavn Main hopefully available to us at times this season they will bring back new ideas to help us keep improving and in contention.”