Tom Brook is leading Scholes through a transitional period which he’s confident will produce exciting times over the next few years.

One of the most talented emerging players in the district (he was 22 on Tuesday), Brook has been entrusted to guide a very youthful first team out of the Wasim Jaffer era and into a bright new Chapelgate dawn.

He realises that’s a tough goal in a highly-competitive Drakes Premiership, but Brook has already won the allroundercricket T20 Trophy as skipper – standing in for Ashley Pamment in 2012 – and led Scholes to a ninth-place finish last summer, his first at the helm full-time.

“We have set out our stall to attract good young players to this club and to give them every opportunity over the next few years, so it’s a great place to be playing cricket,” said Brook, whose younger brother Louis (17) opens the bowling and whose elder brother, Josh, is captain of the Seconds.

“It’s a fantastic club to be at – I will never, ever leave – and the ‘crack’ after our games and the atmosphere in the clubhouse is second to none.

“We’ve got a brilliant committee and people behind the scenes who do great work at junior and senior level, and we’ve got an unbelievable team spirit in the dressing room and magnificent backing from our supporters.

“Chapelgate is just a great place to play cricket – when the sun shines! – and while we know it’s going to be a lot of hard work, we are hoping to build on what we did last season and hopefully improve.”

Brook – who led Scholes to an impressive opening-day victory against Golcar – has Kiwi Pete Drysdale on board this season to replace last year’s top run-getter Joe Carter and is waiting to welcome South African teenager Luke Leonard from Cape Town and the Western Province Under 19 set-up as soon as his visa comes through.

But he expects all the team to have benefited from their experiences last year and to be driven by the desire to produce better figures this time around.

“Pete Drysdale has settled in straight away and it really helps that he’s been in this league before (with Shelley),” explained Brook, who had 638 runs at 37.53 last summer in addition to 59 wickets at 20.75.

“He’s a top bloke, he is already coaching the young lads and helping them along, he’s a very solid batsman to have at the top of the order and, when he just gets over an injury niggle, we are expecting him to take some good wickets with his offies.

“At 25, Pete is one of the older ones along with the likes of Adam France and Keith (James Noble), and if it wasn’t for Bubbles (wicketkeeper Richard Holmes) we would probably have an average age under 20, so there is a lot to look forward to here as the team develops.”

Brook is setting high standards for himself – and largely living up to them – and he expects his charges to follow and play some serious cricket.

Scholes Cricket Club's (l-r) Josh Brook, Louis Brook, dad Nicky Brook and Tom Brook
 

“Tom Chadwick came from Cartworth Moor last year and hit 750 runs and picked up 30-odd wickets, so he’s looking to go better than that this time, and Toby Booth is an old head on young shoulders who will get plenty of opportunity at the top of the order this season, so hopefully he’s another who will become a ‘Scholeser’ for the rest of his career.

“Keith (Noble) has a big part to play this year, having won pretty much everything as captain and now having the chance to concentrate on his batting, and then I’m looking to get much closer to 1,000 runs myself this time – if not more – because I’m going to be batting higher up the order.

“A thousand runs and 50-plus wickets would be my target, then we’ve got Adam France who has really good experience in the bowling department and then our Louis, who has the potential to be a very good bowler in the next few years and will get every chance at our place.

“All the bowlers are fortunate to have Richard Holmes behind the sticks. He might be 900 years old but he’s still one of the very best around and he’s a massive help out on the field.”

Scholes’ recruitment continued in winter with Max Berry joining from Thongsbridge, Liam Fletcher returning after a spell away and Chris Lawson is expected back to play when available

“Luke Leonard has come well recommended from South Africa and we are hoping he’ll give us more depth in the batting when he arrives here, hopefully this week, but we have a good young side and a tremendous spirit and we are all aiming to do well.”

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