What a difference a year makes for Shiregreen CC’s third team - and particularly for skipper Bryn Collinson.
For 12 months ago, the 22-year-old was on the sidelines, one of a number of senior players who were ostracised by members of the club’s own committee and skipper as the side flirted with relegation, losing 11 games and avoiding a bottom-two finish by just 22 points.
But in a dramatic turnaround, Collinson inherited the team captaincy, changed the side’s over-reliance on youth and led them to the league title in his first season in charge - which included 14 victories, just two defeats and a remarkable 127-point lead over third-placed Whitley Hall Colts, who are promoted as Shiregreen already have a side in the Alliance’s Premier Division.
“We still have a very young team,” Collinson told Grass Roots, “and we do have a good youth set-up here, but the added experience was badly needed and helped us achieve this.
“The oldest player in the team is still only in his mid-20s, but I felt it was important to put my belief in the young lads I was selecting.
“I watched them in training and just tried to give them as much confidence in themselves as I had in them, so that they would enjoy playing.”
Collinson added: “Whatever league we’re in, we want to win it. That has to be the aim... to go and do it again next year.”