With what he believes is a very bright future ahead at Crimble, departing captain Bobby Cross hopes he can continue to repay the faith shown in him by Heywood CC over the years.
Cross, 30, announced last month he has relinquished the captaincy of Heywood CC after 10 successful years at the helm, during which time he won four Wood Cups and two CLL titles.
He will be succeeded in the hot seat by all-rounder Danny Pawson, who is fast developing into one of the best amateurs – alongside Cross – to ply his trade at Crimble.
Cross hopes he will still be able to help Pawson and his beloved Heywood to success over the coming years – on, and, significantly, off the field – and give the new incumbent the same support he has been given over the past decade.
He said: “I was asked to be captain at the age of 20 by David Fare and the cricket committee at that time and I am very grateful for the belief that they showed in me and their courage to appoint someone of that age to the role.
“I hope that I have managed to repay that faith over the past ten years in the way in which I have tried to lead the team both on and off the field.
“However it feels like the right time to step back and hopefully try to continue to contribute to the side as a batsman (and leg spinner of course!) and to try my best to play a part in what I am certain is going to be a very exciting few years for the club.
“The future looks bright on the field and there are significant developments to come off the field in terms of facilities and how the club moves forward. I look forward to continuing to play a part in pushing the club forward both on and off the field.
“I would like to thank all of the supporters that have helped the side over the past seasons, it makes a huge difference to the players. I know that same support will be offered to Danny as we move forward.”
The years of Cross’ captaincy ranks amongst the most successful periods ever in Heywood’s history, second only perhaps to the sustained period of excellence with Colin Lever as professional in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Then, under uncle Bob Cross and then Bob Dearden, Lever took Heywood to three league titles and two Wood Cups in nine years, as well as two second place finishes in the league.
But, there is no doubt the teams of Cross junior stand scrutiny and it is fair to compare some of the pros and players in his era to any Heywood CC players of the past, as Cross is keen to point out.
He continued: “I have been fortunate to have benefitted from some outstanding professionals and overseas amateurs.
“To be helped along the way by Johan Botha, Sherwin Campbell, Brendan Taylor and Reuvin Peiris was an experience that any captain would learn from and to have shared four of my seasons with my big mate Royce Blight was undoubtedly one of the reasons the team had such success.”
Cross, however, has reserved his most fulsome praise for the team-mates and members of the club who have been with him through thick and thin.
And he has also urged one veteran player to continue to add to his own legend at Crimble …
“Ten seasons is a long time (to be in charge) and there have been significant changes to the side over those years,” he continued.
“A lot of the senior players either retired or stepped down to help the youngsters in the second team and only Chris Kaye has remained a constant feature during my time as captain. The current side is perhaps the youngest in the club’s history.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to all of the players that have put so much effort into the success of the club during my spell as captain.
“From the experienced players that helped me out at the start to the young lads that have given their all this summer, I have been very fortunate to have always had reliable, committed and talented players at my disposal.
“Particular thanks go to my long term vice captain Rob Slawson for all the support he gave me and of course to Chris Kaye for all of the effort he has put in for both me and the club.
“I hope that he will continue on!”
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