Euxton determined to prosper at higher level

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While they have made a sticky start to life in a tougher league, Euxton Cricket Club insist their long-term policy of investing in youth will pay dividends and they will prosper in their new surroundings.

The Balshaw Park side were only formed comparatively recently but this season have made a big step up by switching from the Manchester Association to the Ribblesdale League.

League officials placed them in the tough environs of the well established league’s senior division, and chairman Graeme Carroll said they were under no illusions as to how tough life would be in their new surroundings.

“We were all well aware that it was going to be difficult in this league, and we accepted that,” he said.

“But we have made a long term investment in our youth policy and we firmly believe that will pay off and the long term future is bright.”

Carroll explained that every other club in the senior league employed a professional while Euxton were not at this stage qualified to do so, which was a big disadvantage.

To remedy that, they had instead gone down the route of taking on an overseas amateur, but they had encountered more problems here too.

Original choice Jan Steinkamp was unable to get in the country due to visa problems and his replacement, fellow South African Shershan Naidoo, had to return home due to injury.

However, a further replacement is now being lined up and Carroll said it as hoped he would be in the line up as early as next week.

In the meantime, Euxton are battling on with their home grown talent, and the Balshaw Park chief said in this area they had been far from disgraced.

“I honestly believe our amateurs are a match for the amateurs in every other club, and the likes of Nick Dunn and skipper Mark Winrow have done well even though results have gone against us,” he said.

“But we are at a disadvantage as at the moment we are the only club in the league without a professional or an overseas amateur.”

Carroll explained that the club was thriving in many respects, with six junior teams and three senior teams currently operating.

Indeed two youngsters , James Bone and Daniel Barber, are in the Lancashire Under-11 and Under-12 squads respectively, and Euxton youngsters have a big representation in district junior sides at all levels.

And with young faces filling a very youthful senior second XI, the results of that investment in youth are already becoming apparent.

It’s clear going head to head with seasoned, well established clubs such as Read and Clitheroe at first-team level was always a big ask, but Carroll said everyone at Balshaw Park was rising to the big challenge a hectic first summer in the Ribblesdale League was bringing, and the future was very much a case of onwards and upwards.