Howzat!: Oakfield Parkonians cricket club confident they can survive in Essex Division Two
PUBLISHED: 13:30 30 April 2016
Captain Jibran Azam backs team to show their quality on step up in leagues
After finally making the step up to Essex League Division Two, Jibran Azam believes there is enough about the Oakfield Parkonians side to keep them in the league.
Having tried so hard and come so close in past seasons, 2015 saw the club finally win promotion from Division Three.
They also came close to capping promotion with the league title, only narrowly losing out to Old Southendian after a late-season slump saw them tail off and finish as runners-up.
Safety is the key target for the club this season as they look to consolidate their position in the division before entertaining any thoughts of another promotion.
And Azam is confident the team have quality to achieve exactly that, with everyone is keen not to blow their chance. He said: “It’s a massive year for the club after finally winning promotion. The first aim is to stay up, and then hopefully we can carry some momentum from that.
“We have a strong squad, but a lot of our younger players may be missing for us early on because of their busy schedule and their school work.
“We’ll try our best and that’s all we can do. We’ll try to battle hard in every game and give ourselves a chance of stay up.”
Parks are likely to be one of the more youthful looking sides in the division, with the club placing a strong emphasis on bringing through their young players.
Last season was particularly successful for the youth section as the under-16s won the Essex Matchplay title and the under-13s took the Peter Coe Cup at the County Ground.
Their efforts were rewarded, with bright hope Eshun Kalley earning a call-up to the South of England representative side.
And Azam believes there are plenty more ready to follow Kalley on that path, as well as helping the senior team achieve their goal of staying in the league.
“We try to give youngsters a chance in our senior sides because we want to give them an opportunity to develop,” added Azam.
“Last year there were three or four teenagers who were in and around our first-team squad which would have been a great experience for them.
“You look at someone like Amin Ali, who was 15 last year and had a great impact playing senior cricket. He took his chance and hopefully others can too.”
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