Lankester backs young stars to end years of hurt

Mildenhall captain Steve Lankester is confident his young stars can end the routine of disappointment and finally seal promotion to the East Anglian Premier League.

For the past two seasons Mildenhall have seen promising campaigns end in woe, missing out on promotion by the narrowest margin, finishing second to Old Copdock and Woolpit respectively, leaving the club to rue what could have been.

And the challenge looks set to be even tougher this season ahead of tomorrow’s Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Cricket Championship Division One opener at home to Ipswich (1pm) with the loss of influential players Frans Bester to Burwell, Ben Steepleton, to last year’s champions and professional Azzem Gurmann who has returned to homeland Pakistan.

However, with a new Australian professional, a fresh crop of youngsters, which could include Suffolk Under-19’s Lilly Reynolds and most importantly the continued availability of Essex starlets Tymal Mills and Tom Westley among their ranks, 42-year old Lankester is confident of ending the years of wait.

“There is no doubt losing those players will have a huge impact on the team but I am still confident of going one step further than last season and gain promotion,” he said.

“Not going up last season has cost us some good players but we have some exceptional young players and it is great to give them a chance.

“We also still have two of Essex’s best youngsters in Tymal and Tom, which is a great feather in our cap and keeps us extremely strong.

“We are in a bit of a transitional period which will bring apprehension but I am 100 per cent confident our young players can step up and challenge.”

Lakenheath, relegated from Division One last year, will lead the challenge in Division Two, with Worlington and Mildenhall II.