Cricket club hits the star-name culture for six

NEW CHAIRMAN -- Neil South
NEW CHAIRMAN -- Neil South

One of the Dispatch district’s top cricket clubs has signalled an end to the era of splashing out big money to attract star names.

Instead, Papplewick and Linby are to concentrate on producing home-grown talent to take the club forward.

Since winning a place in the elite Notts Premier League (NPL) in 2003, Papplewick have hired a string of former Test and county players.

England all-rounder Phil DeFreitas topped the roll-call, which also featured the likes of ex-England teammate Dean Headley, Australian Stuart Law, Pakistani Zulqarnain Haider, Sri Lankan Kosala Kulasekara and South African Martin Bekker.

However, none could deliver the league title, and Papplewick suffered relegation from the NPL last summer. What’s more, their chief benefactor, City businessman Michael Secretan, stood down as chairman.

Now the club’s ethos is undergoing a radical change under new chairman, respected accountant and former player Neil South (48).

To such an extent that they are unlikely to employ a professional or an overseas player at all during the 2014 campaign.

“We want to produce our own local cricketers,” said South this week.

“If that means we can’t compete in the Notts Premier League, then so be it.

“Our aim in the new season is to win promotion back to the NPL, but it is not the be-all and end-all for the club.”

South is sure that many other clubs will go down the same path in the near future as the financial folly of chasing glory sinks in.

“We are still exploring a few opportunities with regard to a pro or overseas player,” he went on.

“But we no longer have someone pumping a lot of money into the club. So we would only employ someone if it was the right deal and if we could afford it.

“It would also have to be part of a package to help our youngsters, perhaps with coaching.

“It’s all about the bigger picture now. We are developing our own players and competing that way.

“I think local cricket is going to change -- and if that is the case, we are in a far stronger position than most.

“We have a thriving youth set-up, with teams at under-11, under-13 and under-15 levels and Kwik Cricket for the nine and ten-year-olds.

“We also have a cricket school for four-to-seven-year-olds at the club every Friday evening during the summer, which is fantastic.”

Papplewick might have dropped back into the Bassetlaw League, but South is confident the club have nothing to worry about.

“We have a good bunch of youngsters, and people are coming forward to help with coaching,” he said.

“We are very positive about the way we are going forward.”