WERRINGTON Cricket Club have announced all-rounder Adam Hodgson as their first ever Director of Cricket.
The Ladycross outfit flirted with relegation from the ECB Cornwall Premier League last season, only securing survival on the final day at Redruth, and the four-time champions hope that there’ll be no such problems this time around as they prepare for next summer.
Part of that is to announce Hodgson, who will oversee all cricket matters and work closely with Ben Smeeth on youth development.
A delighted Hodgson told the Post: “It’s something I’ve been thinking has been needed at the club for a few years now, we’d become less proactive in the off season, training levels have been diminishing and to be honest the club had been neglecting actual cricket matters over the past couple of years. We have an unbelievably good committee at the club who do great work behind the scenes, but there was nobody in charge of cricket matters and the tough season we had last year was on the cards.
“It had become very clear to me that someone was needed in that role, I spoke to a few of my close peers at the club who agreed it was needed, I then spoke to the chairman (Richard Jenkin) who also agreed and it was subsequently voted in at the AGM. I made myself available for the role and this also got voted in.”
Werrington are the envy of many clubs around the county with their superb set-up and facilities and an exciting youth section, and Hodgson hopes he can utilise his near 20 years of experience of Premier League cricket.
He said: “I’m proper excited by it, I’m not overthinking it because the masterplan can get overwhelming, but hopefully in five to ten years’ time the club will be in a better place than it would have been if the role wasn’t in place.
“My ultimate aim is to install a culture and infrastructure at the club where our next generation can have the experiences I’ve had here, which have been unforgettable. I will still play and give 100% for Werrington when I cross the white line, but I’m also thinking to the future and it’s time to give something back to my club.”
Hodgson has already been busy at work, recruiting an overseas player and has also brought back a familiar face in opening bowler Sam Hockin from Bude.
He said: “The winter will consist of planning for the season ahead, I’ll be overseeing recruitment and we’ll be trying hard to recruit players with quality and future potential.
“We have no interest in just getting numbers through the door, instead just a few quality additions and then to nurture our quality group of youngsters.
“We’ve also really missed an overseas player in the past couple of seasons and we’re delighted to welcome Sam Willis to the club. He’s a genuine seamer all-rounder, who plays grade cricket for the Gold Coast Dolphins in Queensland, Australia, and comes highly recommended by our previous overseas, Jono Baldock. He’s an opening bowler and top order batsman.
“We’re also delighted to welcome back Sam Hockin. We were gutted to lose him a few years back mainly due to weekend work commitments, but he has now changed jobs and is looking like being available most weekends. This is massive for us, Sam is such a good player as he bats, bowls and is ridiculous in the field, so we’re chuffed to have him back.
“There’s also some other pokers in the fire which I can’t say too much about yet!”
Hodgson is keen to delve into all aspects of the club.
He said: “Feedback is very high on the list, we want to know what the players are thinking, and also the parents too, so we’ll be doing some surveys to see where we are doing things well and, more importantly, where we are not doing so well.
“I’ll also be overseeing the senior training programmes through the winter and into the summer, and these will be led by the senior coaching team that consists of myself, Lylo (Tom Lyle), Barny (Dan Barnard) and Laws (Nick Lawson).”
Hodgson insists on-field matters won’t be part of his remit.
He said: “Not much will change on match days, apart from the results hopefully, but the atmosphere around the place has still been great despite the results!
“I have no interest in telling the captains how they should run their sides, but I am there to support them if needed. My immediate thoughts go towards the preparation and planning for the season ahead and hopefully the results can improve off the back of that.”
Nick Lawson took over as captain in 2020 following the departure of Paul Smith to move up to Birmingham, and Hodgson is full of admiration.
He said: “Lawsy has done such a good job as skipper. He got dealt a very rough hand with four senior players leaving when he took on the role, and it’s brilliant how he’s handled things since then. I’m hoping I can take a lot of the pressure away from him so he doesn’t have to think about everything. It’s always been assumed that the first team captain would sort everything; training, recruitment, etc, and I don’t think that’s fair, so hopefully Nick can now concentrate on leading the side and getting us back to where we want to be. Last year didn’t feel good, but it’s only fuelled this whole thing and hopefully those seasons are now few and far between.”
Werrington have plenty of teenagers who hope to work their way up the senior sides in the coming seasons, and Hodgson knows getting the best out of them is key.
He said: “It’s another big reason why I wanted to take the role on. The development of our next generation is on top of the pile for me.
“My lad is now playing under 11s, I love coaching them and seeing them make friends for life. Our youth section is incredible and certainly one place where we haven’t neglected things.
“Ben (Smeeth) does a cracking job overseeing this and we have a great group of youth coaches, Friday evenings in the summer are very special at the club.
“Ben and I are going to be working closely together over the next few years to make sure that our youngsters are getting the very best opportunity to develop their skills and ultimately enjoy cricket at Werrington for the foreseeable future.”