Sussex Cricket League season ahoy – how are Hailsham CC shaping up for it?

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The new cricket season is only a couple of months away and we caught up with Rob Wilkinson, director of cricket at Hailsham CC, to find how their plans for the 2024 campaign are coming together.

Remind us of last season for the club – where did first XI finish and what were other high notes throughout the club's teams?

Last season was a good year for the club with progress made in lots of areas. A lack of promotions has served as fuel and an incentive to strive for more in 2024.

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All five league teams had strong periods in the season and some standout performances but lacked the consistency or final push to achieve promotion.

Hailsham's under-11 team from 2023 | Picture: Hailsham CCHailsham's under-11 team from 2023 | Picture: Hailsham CC
Hailsham's under-11 team from 2023 | Picture: Hailsham CC

The 1st XI finishing so close really hurt and took some time to get over.

Two of our Sussex Slam teams were victorious, with the Roses winning their competition to defend their title. The Royals regained the Hobden Trophy and lost in the county semi-finals.

One of our biggest positives was that 2023 was the first year for our new 5th XI which provided even more opportunities for young players to make senior debuts and develop their game.

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Last year also saw the opening of our new training facility which has proved a game-changer.

Hailsham Royals | Picture: Hailsham CCHailsham Royals | Picture: Hailsham CC
Hailsham Royals | Picture: Hailsham CC

The facility is used every evening with club or group sessions and has seen big strides forward with individuals’ skill sets.

Our U11 boys finished joint top of the league and our U15 girls won the East Sussex League, county league and competed with the best at Southern Counties’ Finals Day.

We extended the club’s outdoor social area which was packed each Saturday with members and locals enjoying a drink, cricket and sometimes glorious weather.

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Is it a busy winter? Many changes on the playing side or any work on the ground?

Hailsham Roses' ladies premier league team | Picture: Hailsham CCHailsham Roses' ladies premier league team | Picture: Hailsham CC
Hailsham Roses' ladies premier league team | Picture: Hailsham CC

Post season is always busy and a time where we try to get a step ahead for the following year.

Next season’s preparations start in September and this year was no different with five new players signed by October. Another big step forward for the club was the chance to revisit hosting an overseas cricketer in 2024.

This took time to complete but we are thrilled with Matty Maritz’s signature and can’t wait to get him involved.

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We decided to change the captaincy process and appoint a selection sub-committee.

This new way of deciding who’ll lead the senior teams went down well with members and time will tell if the selections were correct.

The club’s sponsorship packages were up for renewal this winter and we are thrilled to announce seven new businesses have decided to partner with the club.

This is an area of real importance for all involved and builds strong links with the community.

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We now have 28 sponsors and have raised considerable funds to be invested in club projects and improvements.

The most recent project we have been working on is a move to coloured trousers for all of our junior and T20 senior teams. This is part of a wider shift being seen across a number of sports to move away from white kit to relieve period anxiety.

This was a big project and we’re glad the whole club jumped on board and embraced the change – huge thanks to Sharks Cricket Clothing for their assistance and help.

What is the big hope for 2024? Promotion the aim for the firsts or others?

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We’re not shying away from the fact promotion for several of our senior teams is the demand in 2024.

The 1st XI have flirted with promotion for two seasons and now is the time to deliver – the squad and captain are aware of these expectations and it is now the players’ job to put in the hard work and deliver.

The 3rd XI need to progress from their division and start climbing the leagues. We also have high hopes for the 2nd XI who will benefit from the new recruits at the top of the club and we should have a strong pool of players to pick from.

How’s ladies and junior cricket going at the club? Both these seem to be growing across Sussex...

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Our ladies’ and girls’ cricket is continuing to go from strength to strength and we are determined to keep pushing this forward. It’s incredible to see so many women finding the game and developing into excellent cricketers.

The ladies are driving up standards with promotion to the Sussex Premier League in 2024 and we’re up for the challenge of competing at a new level.

Our girls’ section is thriving and we are in communication with new girls starting the game for the first time or wanting to come and be part of our set-up at U11, U13 or U17.

Our junior section has a new team at U12 level and we’re really pleased with the coaches set-up we have.

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Again, some changes and adaptions have happened over the winter.

Any other news from in and around the club?

After raising £3,000 for local primary schools in 2023 we are looking to raise money internally this year for projects at our second ground (Roebuck Park) and ground equipment across the club.

If you are interested in starting the beautiful game or need a change of scenery Hailsham CC could be for you.

Juniors from age four and adults of all ages and abilities can get involved – email [email protected] or call 07980 146841.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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