THE only way is up for Mexborough Cricket Club, writes Liam Hoden.
After two years of serious doubt over their future – a period which has seen them drop from the second tier to the foot of the South Yorkshire Cricket League – the Hampden Road club look to have established solid foundations from which to rebuild.
Mexborough now has a growing junior section and there is a strong chance a Second XI will represent the club next term.
So despite suffering relegation, club secretary and captain James Clark took a great deal of pride from a year characterised by fighting spirit.
He said: “It was a very difficult season but we battled right to the end.
“Just one more win would have seen us safe so we didn’t just sink.
“The lack of a consistent line-up was the problem, we’ve got some good cricketers but having them all in the side at once was rare.
“We used 29 players last season in 22 league games so you can see there was no stability.”
With relegation, Mexborough will become the only ever First XI to play in the bottom tier of the South Yorkshire Cricket League.
But Clark is confident his side will not stay there for long.
Clark said: “It’s not the greatest achievement for the club but we’re hoping to make sure it’s a short stay.
“If we can keep as many of the lads together and add a few over the winter we’ll have a great chance of bouncing straight back.
“We’ve had expressions of interest from a few lads already and if we can get them in we’ll be more than ok.
After contracting over the last two years, the club is looking to expand again by reintroducing a second team.
Also, a third junior age group will be added, taking the club into safe territory with the South Yorkshire League who demand at least two youth teams.
Clark said: “A Second XI would be a massive step forward because it would give the young lads a taste of senior cricket that they don’t have now.
“We can see if they are ready for the step up and if they are, there is a team for them to play in rather than having to go elsewhere.
“If all the contacts we’ve made come to fruition we’ll easily be able to put a Second XI out in the South Yorkshire Alliance League.
“And we’ll still have the under 17s as well as under 13s and 11s.”
Anyone interested in playing for Mexborough next season, at any age level and with any level of prior experience, contact James Clark on 07878935247.