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Howzat!: Loughton cricket club target quick return to Essex Premier League after relegation

PUBLISHED: 14:00 01 May 2016 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 May 2016

The picturesque location that Loughton call home

The picturesque location that Loughton call home

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Captain Fahad Anwar confident of successful year as club look to future

After the agony of relegation last year, Loughton are hopeful they will have more to cheer this time around under the guidance of new skipper Fahad Anwar.

The batsman steps up to the role after wicket-keeper Ben Sly, who spent the winter plying his trade in Australia, stood down.

Sly was unable to prevent the club from slipping back into Division One along with Harold Wood last year.

But Anwar is confident he can steer the club to a return to the top flight at the first attempt, though he knows it will not be easy for Loughton.

“In an ideal world, of course, we would bounce back quickly, but we have quite a different team from last year,” he said.

“A few players have moved on from the club, which is a shame to lose them, but it gives us a chance to bring through some of the younger members who have come through the system.

“The main aim is to rebuild, but we know we want to consolidate our position as a club and avoid another relegation.”

Anwar’s predecessor as skipper lasted one season in the role before deciding to pass the chance on to someone else.

It was a difficult period for the club as they only won four times in the competition, ending eight points adrift of safety.

But with a relatively new squad this time around, they are not as likely to be burdened by the

struggles of last season.

Anwar, though, warns that a fresh start will come with its own pitfalls, especially early on in the campaign.

“I want the team to gel together early on, but I know that will take time and might take a few weeks,” he added.

“Through my captaincy, I also want the boys to enjoy the games as I know that can lead to better displays in a better environment.”

The start of the new season is not the only thing for the club to look forward to, with exciting events coming up over the course of the summer.

Loughton will host three 50-over internationals between Vanuatu and Denmark on May 10, 11 and 12, ahead of their World Cricket League tournament.

And Essex Over-60s are due to play matches at Uplands on May 4, 17, June 1 and 14, before the London under-15s meet Met Essex on July 6.

Loughton’s cricket week starts on August 1, with matches (11.30am start) against the Forty Club, Chinghoppers, Freebooters, MCC and Gents of Essex.

It looks set to be a packed summer schedule for the club and Anwar knows that events such as those taking place over the summer can help Loughton grow in the local community.

“The games that we’re hosting during the summer, especially the World Cricket League ones, will only help raise the profile of the club,” he added.

“We want people in the local area to know more about us and know more about what we do as a club. By hosting competitions and other events like this, hopefully people from the local area will get down and get behind it.”

Promotion from Division One this season will surely also help Loughton become better known in the local area with the draw of success.

• Read more in our Howzat! pullout here.


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