Woolpit itching for season to get under way after ‘long winter’
Woolpit captain Will Parker has conceded that Nathan Crudeli’s departure is a big loss to the club, but said he is optimistic about new overseas player Corey Palyak.
Crudeli, their Australian bowling professional for last season, has been prevented from returning due to visa and league restrictions.
But the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Division One side have recruited 22-year-old Corey Palyak from Australia — a top-order batsman who can also bowl too.
Parker said: “We are looking forward to the season getting going, it’s been a long winter with the weather keeping us off the pitches until now.
“So we can’t wait to get out there again.
“There have been a few changes to the squad, Nathan Crudeli is a big loss but there’s not much we can do about that, he wanted to come back too.
“But Corey is a great addition and we’re looking forward to playing with him.”
He said he felt the squad had a similar feel and quality to last season, which bodes well for the team’s chances in the championship.
They finished a comfortable third in 2017, 19 points clear of Maldon in fourth but also 19 adrift of second-placed Wivenhoe.
It is their second season in Division One after being relegated from the EAPL in 2016.
“I would hope to finish in the top three again this season,” he said. “I definitely think we can achieve that.
“We played a friendly against Haverhill at the weekend and we lost but it was just great to get out there and get the first run out.
“But we will need to work on our fitness.
“That’s was pretty clear, but that will come quite quickly.
“We just need a bit more outdoor practice really to sharpen up again.
“It’s not the same practising indoors.”
He added the return of Andy Northcote to the side was a ‘big plus’ as well as the ‘welcome’ return of top-order batsman Ollie Whiteman.
“It’s just how it’s happened but we have ended up with quite a few good quality batsmen this year.
“So it’s an area we’re going to be particularly strong in, but we also have a number of young prospects that we hope to see come into the squad as the season goes on.”
The side will host Division One newcomer Coggeshall on Saturday (12.30pm) in their first match of the 2018 campaign.
Parker said: “It’s a bit of a strange first game for us as we haven’t played them in about seven years or so, it will be interesting.
“It’s hard to prepare for a game like that, when you’re not sure what to expect so we are making sure we’re as prepared in what we can do. But really, we just can’t wait to get going.
“The sun has finally come out and it’s perfect weather for cricket, so we hope we can enjoy another great season.”
He added that Hamish Fiddes will be unavailable for the start of the season as he is away travelling.