New season has a really positive spin for Buckie Cricket Club
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BUCKIE Cricket Club (BCC) are hoping the new season will bring more successes – and a fair bit of fun, too.
The club's reserve side, Buckie2, are set to step up to the crease this coming Sunday at Linzee Gordon Park when they face Huntly in the first round of the Macleod and Maccallum Reserve league Cup. Last season saw the side claim both this cup and the T20 trophy – the latter for the third time in a row – while also putting in a strong challenge for the league title.
As with last season, Buckie2 will be flying the flag for the club in the absence of a senior side.
BCC president Andy Ballantyne said: "We had been hoping to field a senior team this year but the problem is that these games are on a Saturday.
"Getting people able to commit to this has become increasingly difficult over the years as there are some many pressures on the guys' time, whether that's work, family or other interests. It can be a big commitment, especially as you can be away for the whole day for an away match.
"It's not just a Buckie Cricket Club problem, numbers have been dwindling across the country, which Covid hasn't helped, and the big challenge for us as a sport is to try and reverse that trend.
"Sunday is definitely the best day to get guys along to play and we did try and suggest that but there wasn't much support for that, not yet, anyway.
"We're always looking to attract new players and there'll be a warm welcome at the club whether you're an inexperienced player or completely new to the game."
BCC are currently holding their training sessions at their Linzee Gordon Park pavilion on Wednesday evenings from 6.30pm.
Ballantyne believes the time is ripe for unleashing new strategies to secure the future of the game.
"This would be a good time to see some drastic changes to the way we run the game, although change is never easy.
"There're lots of good ideas out there.
"Buckie, and in particular Iain Mcdonald, have done a lot in terms of junior cricket coaching, which we're delighted to have up and running again. These kids don't necessarily stay in the area once they get older – they get jobs, go to uni, get girl/boyfriends, develop other interests – but if we can keep a hold of some in cricket, that's the future of the club. It's good for us and it's good for the community, too."
Looking ahead to the new season, Ballantyne said that Buckie2 were in good shape for the coming campaign, although winning silverware – while nice – was not the be all and end all for the club.
"The reserves did very well last year winning both cups and we had a good league challenge," he continued.
"Hopefully they'll do well again this year although it's a difficult league – it should be an interesting season.
"There're guys playing in the reserves who wouldn't be out of place in the senior team. We've guys who just want to play cricket and aren't too bothered whether that's for the senior or reserve sides. One of the challenges we'll have in balancing the development side of things with giving these guys a game.
"We need to have a good pool of players for the reserves, especially for the away games. At last year's league decider away to Ross County we only had nine players, although we gave it a good try.
"Obviously it's nice to win trophies but it's not essential. It's the taking part that count, we just want to go out there and play cricket."
While Covid had its impact on BCC, as it did on just about every organisation in the country, Buckie have nevertheless emerged as strong as ever, if not stronger despite opting to put safety first and not play at all during the 2020 season.
Ballantyne added: "There're a lot of positives here despite the challenges.
"We've a lot of optimistic and forward chinking people at the club.
"Buckie is a well-run and thriving club and that's a strong foundation to build on."
Buckie2's match against Huntly is due to get under way at 12 noon. The club will open their league account the Sunday afterwards with a trip up north to face Highland.
For more information on training evenings and junior coaching sessions, visit the club's Facebook page.