Morecambe appoint South African as new professional ahead of new season

Morecambe captain Graeme Cassidy. Picture: Tony North
Morecambe captain Graeme Cassidy. Picture: Tony North

Morecambe Cricket Club are preparing for the new season and there have been a number of changes over the winter.

New captain Graeme Cassidy sat down at Woodhill Lane to answer some questions ahead of the upcoming campaign, and also spoke about the club’s new professional, South African Mitchell van Buuren.

Cricket is a summer sport how do you prepare in the winter?

“We have winter indoor cricket booked and they start on the February 9 with two-hour net session.

“Winter nets aren’t everyone’s favourite, but we have had a lot of interest and are all looking forward to the challenge that the 2020 season is going to bring us.”

So please tell me more about Morecambe Cricket Club and the set up?

“After playing most of my junior cricket for Morecambe Cricket and having spells at other clubs I then rejoined Morecambe Cricket Club last season to play alongside my younger brother and I was really impressed with the set up and how much Damian Gudgeon and Ryan Pearson did on and off the field.

“You forget what goes on behind the scenes of a cricket club, it’s a full time job.”

“The junior section on a Friday night is always busy, it is a good night to have junior cricket. You can finish work for the week and have a watch at all the organised chaos.

“We also have three competitive adult sides that play on Saturday and Sundays with a fourth team newly set up that can play in friendlies across the season to get people on the social side of the cricket club interested.

“Hopefully this could then filter in to providing the other three teams new players.”

Have you signed any new players?

“As captain my main aim before looking at new signings is to retain the players we had last season, then look at signing new players.

“I have had a busy winter in doing both of these tasks, I am pleased to say that we have managed to retain Ryan Pearson and Jamie Cassidy who both have had a lot of interest from other clubs over the winter.

“In terms of new players, we have a handful interested and committing to winter nets so hopefully they like what our club is all about and sign for us.

“We have an old new player interested in this season in Garreth Pedder.

“With his experience and knowledge I have no doubt he could offer us strength in depth with both bat and bowl.

“We have also been very lucky in terms of losing players, it is only looking like we are going to have a few people unavailable for the season, losing opening batsman Sam Owen due to a teaching job in the Lakes.

“We also might not have stalwart Tommy Clough week in week out due to work commitments which will be a big loss to us on and off the field, this then gives an opportunity to one of the younger lads to step up to the plate and take an available position.”

Thoughts and ambitions to the 2020 season?

“The Northern League is where every club wants to play and we were one of them clubs lucky enough to get promoted from the Palace Shield .

“Now our job is to stay up and build a squad to really challenge, the main aim for this season is survival and with the cup competitions available this will give us a great opportunity to experiment and play a lot of younger or inexperienced players to give them some valuable devolpment ”

“It isn’t just the players that have ambition for Morecambe Cricket Club the Chairman Tim Mawson and Director of Cricket Damian Gudgeon alongside Kev Demain all have a five-year plan for the club and I am glad that I fit in to that plan we are definitely a side that have the chance to grow as a unit.”

Who is the professional this season?

“We have gone for a young up and coming South African and he has come highly recommended.

“He is called Mitchell van Buuren, he is 22 years old and is a top order batsman that bowls leg breaks.”

“With a young side I think this is the most suitable cricketer we could have wished for.

“He is young himself and from speaking to him he can’t wait to get over and get started.”

Van Buuren has a first class average of 30 and a top score of 120 and a list A average of 70 with a high score of 200.

Mitchell joins a long list of South African professionals to have represented Morecambe – Ashwell Prince (66 tests for South Africa Ave of 41.62), Charl Langeveldt (six tests and 72 ODIs for South Africa), Garnet Kruger (three ODIs for South 
Africa).