CLACTON Cricket Club chairman Gary Kirk believes new skipper Harlan Greig has all the attributes to bring success to Vista Road.

The South African was a huge hit during his first year at the club and is taking over the captaincy from Imran Sheikh.

He will lead his side into battle when the Seasiders begin their Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship division two campaign at Mildenhall on Saturday.

“Harlan has all the attributes to be an excellent captain,” said long-serving Kirk.

“He proved last season what a talented player he is.

“He understands the game and understands our club, which is important.

“Everyone looks up to him and while he demands respect, he earns it, too.

“It’s not just about his capability as a player, though.

“It’s about his personality and commitment because he’s a young man with a mature head on his shoulders.

“He helps out in terms of coaching our colts and he’s such a charismatic lad.

“He’s someone for the young boys to really aspire to.

“Imran did a great job last season but, having just got married, he wants to concentrate on playing, without the added responsibility of being captain.”

Clacton finished fourth last year but are setting their sights on promotion this time around.

The players have been training hard in readiness for a successful season.

“As ever, I’m excited and optimistic about the new season,” he said.

“Everyone at the club feels the same way and we’re delighted to have kept all our players from last year.

“We always aspire for promotion and I truly believe this group deserve to be successful.

“They’ve been working hard throughout the winter, spending their own money to train indoors several times a week at Clacton Leisure Centre.

“It’s a close-knit group and all the players are great friends.

“They spend time together away from cricket and that can only help in terms of spirit and camaraderie on the pitch.

“Although it’s a young side, they’ve been playing together for four or five years so know each other well.

“I hope they achieve what they set out to.”

Kirk hopes more families come over and watch matches this season, in order to foster community spirit.

He also says his club are hoping to establish a ladies’ team, in addition to continuing to build their junior section.

“For the first time in eight years, we’re going to have an association with both secondary schools in the town (Clacton County High School and the Coastal Academy),” he said.

“We’ll go in and coach young players, like we do in primary schools, and we’re always looking for more people to get involved, either on the playing or non-playing side.”

Kirk said he was bitterly disappointed to read the news that neighbours St Osyth have suspended playing activity – an announcement the Cowley Park side made on March 20.

They made their decision due to a lack of players.

“I was so sad to hear that news,” said Kirk.

“Once again, it highlights the huge problem – both here and nationally – in terms of getting young players into cricket.

“It really worries and upsets me and whereas there used to be several clubs in the district, now there are only three – ourselves, Frinton and Tendring.”

Anyone interested in getting involved at Clacton can contact Kirk on 07437 606876.