IT WAS the dawn of a new era as Hyde Cricket club started its new season with a new man at the helm.
Opening batsman Tom Partridge has taken over the reigns from Danny Berry, who has moved to Australia with his family, and the new skipper admitted he could not wait to get started.
“I am really looking forward to it. We’ve got a great group of lads together, we been training hard all winter and team morale seems good and we’re ready for the new season,” said an excited Partridge.
After gaining promotion back to the ECB Premier League following relegation in 2017, the skipper believes he has the players to consolidate their place.
Tom said: “Realistically we want to stay in the league first of all but there is no reason, looking at the team and the strength of the squad we’ve got that we can’t go beyond people’s expectations, have a good cup run and push the top three/top half finish.”
Having won two Premier League titles and a Cheshire Cup under Berry, a number of those key players remain at the club mean there is a wealth of experience for 22-year-old Partridge to draw on.
However he plans to do it his way, adding: “I’m lucky to have been in Danny Berry’s team for the last three or four years and learn from him.
“I’ve got good experience heads around me so I’m willing to learn as I go on but also be my own captain and take the team forward.”
The new era began with a trip to Oulton Park and there was hope that they would have new recruits Aussie bowler Glenn Hannah and new signing Cole Turner available for selection for the season opener.
Turner signed has from Urmston while Hannah was expected in the country five days ahead the first game.
England Under-19 and Lancashire CCC player George Balderson also lined up at number three against Oulton Park following a successful winter for both county and country having toured Bangladesh.
The season started with a win as Hyde notched 126/8 in reply to Oulton Park’s 125 all out.
With senior figures like James Duffy, Jason Whitaker and David Fitzsimmons at the club, Partridge will not be short of advice should he need it.
There is also an abundance of younger players pushing for a first-team opportunity so the 2019 season promises to be an exciting one for everyone connected with Hyde.
And they will have new facilities to play on after new covered nets were installed over the course of the off season.
And if it was not for the dedication of volunteers and sponsors, not least Cheshire Scaffolding who provided a huge help, none of the work would have taken place.
The old nets were replaced with a new wall and polytunnel area, providing a much better facility for all sides to perfect their game in.
It is not just on the wicket where work can have an effect, the club is also doing a long overdue and much needed refurbishment of the toilet facilities within the clubhouse.
The work will include the complete overhaul of both the ladies and gents’ toilets, along with the creation of a dedicated disabled one.
Meanwhile, Hyde were 84 run winners in their first match of this season’s ECB National Club Championship against Liverpool comp side Leigh CC, with Partridge making 41 runs of a total of 250/7.
Elliott Young bowled excellently and virtually cleaned up the tail, finishing on figures of 4-36 as Leigh were bowled out for 166.
Hyde who earned and deserved a place in the next round to be played on Sunday, May 12 against Bolton outfit Bradshaw.