Bury St Edmunds Cricket Club vice-captain Justin Bishop has warned the club cannot afford a repeat of the previous two seasons as they aim to make a vast improvement ahead of the new East Anglian Premier League campaign.
With an opening fixture away at rivals Woolpit tomorrow (11am), Bury will be keen to avoid the poor performances of last season — which saw the club narrowly avoid the drop when finishing 10th, two places above bottom place and notably one below tomorrow’s hosts.
A major factor in their survival was the form of captain Tom Huggins, who claimed 40 wickets as well as 972 runs to steer the club to safety.
He will again lead the side, who have strengthened with the additions of the impressive Adam Mansfield from neighbours Sudbury and leg-spinner, Russell Stockdale from Frinton-on-Sea, leaving Bishop confident about the season ahead.
“We don’t want a repeat of the previous two seasons as they proved very difficult campaigns,” he said. “I think they were transitional periods for us and I think we have learnt from them.
“We have recruited well and trained really well over the winter and things are looking good.
“Adam should do really good things for us.
“He is an incredible player with great awareness and he should go on to big things.
“Russell needs to be playing and that is what he’ll get here.
“Him alongside Tom Huggins should be a great bowling attack.”
Despite the threat of relegation not being present this season with the withdrawal from the league of Clacton-on-Sea, Bishop is keen for the side not to rest on their laurels.
“Despite their being no relegation we certainly won’t be coasting this year and our aim is to hopefully to be right up the table,” he added. “We always set out to win the league, but if not then hopefully we can just make a massive improvement — that shouldn’t be hard as the last two years couldn’t have been much worse.
“But we survived and now we are quietly confident we will have an impact and hopefully finish as the best club in Suffolk.”