Leatherhead's cricket glory is all about finding the right mixture (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)
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Leatherhead's cricket glory is all about finding the right mixture
Leatherhead CC skipper Matt Joblin may not be much of a cook, but he has mixed up a perfect blend of ability and commitment in his squad - and it is a squad that will be gracing the Premier Division for the first time ever next season.
Having secured the Division One title and a second successive promotion with victory over Old Whitgiftians last month, Leatherhead went on to win only one of the remaining three games but still took top spot by 29 points.
This time last year, Joblin said his side had nothing to fear going into their first ever match in Division One, and now he has that same sense of adventure ahead of their debut in the top flight.
But for now, Joblin can revel in getting that mix just right for a perfect rise up the league.
He said: “For me, we have a fantastic mixture of ability in the squad.
“We have young talent coming through the system and we have players in their mid-20s who have been with the club since the start and are now experienced first team cricketers.
“And we have the older players who have that experience of playing at the highest level.”
He added: “Added to that is the commitment that they have shown all season has been second to none.
Clincher: Jonathan Tribe celebrates a wicket as Leatherhead beat Old Whitgiftians to seal the Division One crown and promotion to the Premier Division SP78639
“I’ve spoken to skippers of other teams and they say they’ve playing more than 30 players this season, whereas by and large, we’ve used 14 players, which, when you consider the commitment a full season requires, has been absolutely fantastic.”
Leatherhead started their first ever season in Division One as if they had been there for years, winning 10 of the first 11 games.
Joblin, who has every intention of staying on as skipper, puts it down to not knowing much about the sides in the league and not having any preconceptions about what they are about to face – now they are in the same position going into the Premier Division.
“We won’t change how we approach our cricket, we’re not going to spend a fortune on players and now show faith in the guys who got us to this point.
“Going forward, we’re all about ensuring the longevity of the club, enjoying our cricket and maintaining the club ethos that is proving so successful.”
Making that step up from Division One to the Premier Division means not only playing some of the best club sides in the country, but also some of the best players.
One big name to feature last season was Michael Carberry, who has opened for England in the ODIs against Australia, at Spencer.
Joblin said: “As a club, we have to enjoy the opportunity of playing these big names.
“We have come up against big name players before and to see the impact it has on our players has been fantastic – every one of them has raised their game.
“Moreover, not once have we been beaten by an individual’s performance where they’ve blitzed 150 or got five wickets – I may be shooting myself in the foot here, but we’ve done all right in that respect.“
He added: “Whatever happens, this has been an immensely enjoyable season and I could not be more proud of everyone involved with the club.”
New challenges: Leatherhead could be facing the likes of England international Michael Carberry when they take their Premier Division bow next season SP73115
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