Bradfield Cricket Club ‘rejuvenated’ after arrival of new director of cricket Mike Jones

Mike Jones in action for Great Witchingham in the East Anglian Premier League. Picture: TIM FERLEY

Mike Jones in action for Great Witchingham in the East Anglian Premier League. Picture: TIM FERLEY - Credit: Archant

Bradfield are a club rejuvenated after appointing former East Anglian Premier League player Mike Jones as their new director of cricket.

So says chairman and chief sponsor Dean Emerson as the club's two senior teams prepare for their opening fixtures in the Norfolk Alliance this weekend.

The vastly experienced all-rounder Jones swapped a similar role at EAPL outfit Great Witchingham to take charge at Bradield after officials decided it was time for a new approach following relegation from Division One last season.

'After rebuilding the existing pavilion in 2018 the decision was made by the committee that a culture change was required at the club to maintain its longevity,' explained the chairman, who is managing director of sponsors Emerson Builders Ltd.

'We approached Mike after the season had finished in September and excited by the drive and ambition of the club he gladly excepted our proposal.

'A three year plan was made to maintain and increase our youth participation as well as improving the positions of our senior sides.

'Mike has brought with him a wealth of knowledge, experience and drive and this has rejuvenated the club.

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'Having Mike at the club means our youth sides have level 2 Australian/NZ, UK equivalent level 3 coach training which allows us to continue to increase our ever growing youth section.

'It is clear over the winter preparations that numbers are at an all time high now that Mike is at our club.'

Jones' former Brooke colleague Matt Collinge, a wicket-keeper batsman with EAPL experience, also come on board over the winter

These are exciting times for Jones, who has recently been selected for the England Over -35s indoor cricket side who travel to South Africa this October. With no ECB funding he is currently looking for sponsors to help him on his journey

Bradfield warmed up for the new campaign by beating Sprowston in a friendly on Saturday.

The visitors made a respectable 212-5 in their 40 overs but Bradfield got home with six wickets in hand, with Ryan Sturgess making an unbeaten 72 and Jones 56.

They open their campaign in Norfolk Alliance Division Two with a trip to Downham Town A.

Up in the Premier Division Cromer will have a point to prove after a disappointing 2018 campaign that saw them avoid relegation by just two points.

They have a tough opening fixture on Saturday, with last year's runners-up Downham Town visiting the Norton Warnes Ground.

Sheringham will be looking to put the disappointment of missing out on promotion from Division Four through no fault of their own behind them when they open the new season with a home fixture against Beccles A.

The Lobsters finished second last term but missed out on going up because of Norwich's relegation from the East Anglian Premier League.

Cromer A are also in Division Four after sealing promotion in impressive style last year. Their first game is away to Snettisham.

Bradfield A are at home to newly promoted Saxlingham in their Division Six opener.

There are now two local teams in the top flight of the Norfolk League following Aylsham St Giles' promotion last summer.

The new boys travel to Norwich to take on St Andrews in their first fixture at a higher level while established Division One side Overstrand are at home to Castle Acre.

In other opening day fixtures Happisburgh visit Felthorpe in Division 2NE and Aldborough are at Norwich Bystanders in Division 3NE.