Cricket: Joe Ellis-Grewal insists Wanstead & Snaresbrook are as hungry as ever ahead of new Shepherd Neame Essex League Premier Division season
PUBLISHED: 16:00 09 May 2018
In an article from our ‘Howzat’ pullout, Wanstead & Snaresbrook captain Joe Ellis-Grewal previews the upcoming campaign
Wanstead & Snaresbrook have seen their trophy cabinet swell in recent seasons, but captain Joe Ellis-Grewal says the squad are still as hungry for success as ever.
Last season saw the Herons win the ECB National Club Championship for the first time in their history, beating Ormskirk at the Essex County Ground.
The Overton Drive outfit also won the Essex T20 in 2017, while they were crowned Shepherd Neame Essex League Premier Division champions the year before, the 150th anniversary.
It’s been a glittering couple of years for Wanstead, who have retained mostly the same squad in those triumphs.
But Ellis-Grewal has warned the Herons’ rivals that they are chasing more trophies this term, with the squad’s passion for the game driving them on in their quest for success.
“Everyone at the club loves playing cricket. It’s great to win a competition once, but as a group we always want to win more,” said the all-rounder.
“We reached the quarter-finals of the ECB National T20 and came up just short in the Premier Division last season and those near misses drive us on.
“The Premier Division is looking tough this season, with teams having improved, so there is plenty of competition.
“Even at Wanstead, there is competition for places in the first team with some good youngsters in the seconds this season.
“That creates a healthy environment and helps keep everyone looking to be at the top of their game, so I don’t really have to say much when it comes to the games.”
Wanstead came close to what would have been a magnificent double last season, losing on the final day of the Premier Division season to be pipped to the title by Chelmsford.
That meant the Herons were unable to successfully defend the title won in 2016, but Ellis-Grewal says the team are looking to wrestle the crown back from Chelmsford this term.
“The priority for us is always the Premier League and we’re looking to win the title back this season,” he added.
“We suffered a little with the weather last season, but hopefully we get a bit more luck this season and we can win it.”
Wanstead will also be looking to defend the ECB National Club Championship they won so brilliantly last term.
The Herons looked to have blown their chance of success in the final when being skittled out for just 159 by Ormskirk.
However, an inspired bowling display from the Overton Drive outfit, led by a haul of 4-33 from Jack Lord, saw Wanstead ultimately triumph by 12 runs.
As the defending champions, the Herons will have a target on their back in this year’s edition, but Ellis-Grewal is excited by the challenge of defending their title.
“We have a similar draw in the group stages of the ECB National Club Championship again this year, so we know what to expect, but equally the opposition know about us,” he said.
“We’ve got almost the same side that won it last season, so the aim for us is to defend our title.
“We want people to take notice of us as a side who has not only won the competition, but has consistently reached the latter stages of it as well.”
By winning the ECB National Club Championship last year, Wanstead also secured a meeting with the MCC at Lord’s recently.
That day was another memorable one in the Herons’ history as they successfully chased down 298 to win by five wickets.
And Ellis-Grewal was delighted they were able to cap such a superb day for all involved with the club in perfect fashion.
“It was a fantastic day for the club at Lord’s against a really strong side. The lads were in great form and it was fantastic to win,” he said.
It was a day that will live long in the memory for all involved, Wanstead will hope there are many more in the years to come.
That will likely be driven by Wanstead’s ever-flowing conveyor belt of talent, with Ellis-Grewal believing there are some talented youngsters to look out for this term and in the years to come.
“Robin Das scored a 50 for us in the game at Lord’s and to do that at just 16 shows that he is an unbelievable talent,” he said.
“Tom Cummins and Jack Lord have also been showing positive signs and hopefully they are among the players that kick on this year.”
Wanstead may have won plenty of trophies in the past few years, but it may only be just the start.
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