CRICKET: TEENAGER Harry Johnson is set to be a big part of Kenilworth Wardens’ plans for the 2018 Birmingham Premier League season.
The talented youngster has jetted down under for the winter to play for Endeavour Hills CC in Melbourne.
And it’s hoped a winter full of cricket for the Kenilworth batsman can help him guide Wardens to another successful season in the region’s most respected cricket league.
There are also plans for popular Indian fast bowler and batsman Prerak Mankad to return to England in 2018, though his spot in the Kenilworth side is subject to contract conditions in his homeland.
Mark Pidgeon, first team captain, told Observer sports editor Shaun Reynolds that he’s pleased with the progress Johnson is making.
He said: “Endeavour Hills is a big side in Melbourne and Harry has been performing very well.
“They’ve been working on his wicketkeeping skills as it’s something Warwickshire are keen to progress.
“Warwickshire have pushed him forward, it’s been a good year for him. Especially with the 160 he hit last month.
“We intend for Prerak to return.
“He came to the club and enjoyed not only playing Saturday cricket but also on Sunday and Wednesday while helping our youth players along the way.
“The Birmingham Premier League is one of the best in the country. And we are playing against teams with large budgets in comparison to us.”
One thing the Wardens skipper confirm would be the club’s priority next season is the retention of a handful of star youngsters.
Wardens lost the services of Scott Stenning and Martin Donald to Knowle and Dorridge, something Pidgeon is hopeful not to repeat.
He said: “Our priority is to keep our talented youngsters at the club.
“We have lost a couple of experienced players that have moved on.
“But we are performing well at all age groups.
“One or two of our age groups are among the best in the county. The Under 15s will have four county players next season and it’s a similar number at Under 12s level.
“They’re the future of our club. And we hope they will continue to enjoy playing cricket, especially in the Cotswold Hills League on Saturdays.”
Off the pitch the club’s ground is earmarked for a new housing estate, meaning Wardens are in the process of finding a new location for the club to call home.
Though Pidgeon didn’t go too deeply into the situation, he did confirm the club plans to retain its current facilities once the time comes to make the move.
He said: “It’s common knowledge our ground is earmarked for housing and we will be moving to another location.
“What I will say is the future of the club looks very bright on and off the field.
“Otherwise we’re always on the lookout for new players, particularly people that can build into our ethos.
“We play at a competitive standard but we’re also a friendly club.
“Our winter net sessions start in January. They take place during evenings and Sundays.”
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