Trophy victory rounds off a successful year for Alfreton

Alfreton CC 1sts rounded off their season in fine style by winning some silverware over the weekend - at the third time of asking.

The side gained promotion to the Derbyshire Premier League, finishing second to Marehay in the DCCL Division One, and then lost out to the same opponents in the final of the Marston’s Smooth Trophy, but on Saturday at the County Ground, Derby, they won the Bates Weston John Else T20 Trophy.

In the semi-finals, Alfreton beat Quarndon by three wickets and then saw off Clifton in the final by 16 runs to be crowned the winners.

Alfreton CC committee member Keith Clarke says it was a fitting way to end such a good season: “We are relieved and delighted to get some silverware. It’s been a very successful season anyway but this rounded it off in the best way possible. It was a very competitive affair, all the teams were really keen to win it and we were delighted to come out on top.”

Looking back on the secret of the side’s success this season, Keith explained: “We recruited very well over the winter. Obviously Matt Lineker returned to the club after his spell with Derbyshire and got something like 1,800 runs. He took plenty of wickets too and fielded well so he had a great season. It’s only personal opinion, but I feel he’s the best homegrown batsman at this level that I’ve seen in my time watching.

“Adam Burton came in from Spondon, bowled very well and took a lot of wickets, plus we brought in Mark Stokes and John Aspinall from Matlock so we felt we had a strong enough side to do without an overseas player this season.

“We were a good, consistent side, only lost twice in the league and were neck and neck with Marehay for nearly all of the season. There was a big gap between the top two and the rest so that shows what a good season we’ve both had.

“Most of the players are local lads, so that’s a credit to the club and town. We reckoned something like six or seven players in that side have come through Kwik Cricket here, which is great as we hold our youth section in high regard.

“It was a real team effort because if one player missed out with bat or ball, there was always someone else ready to chip in and help the team do so well. All the players contributed to our success.”

Looking ahead, Keith says there will no slacking off as the club plans for the move into the top flight in 2014. “The planning for next season started as soon as the final ball of the 2013 season was bowled! It has to, because it’s a very tough league. We’ve got a young confident side, many of whom have played at that level before, so we are looking forward to the challenge with optimism.”