Despite narrowly missing out on the North Yorkshire and South Durham Division One title, Whitby CC 1sts skipper Paul Buck is looking to bounce back next season.
The Whitby lads claimed a comfortable 38-run home win against Guisborough on Saturday, but leaders Billingham Synthonia won at Great Ayton to clinch the title, and with it the only promotion spot to the top flight.
Buck said: “We’ve had a great season and most other years second place would be enough to gain promotion but, due to league re-organisation, only the champions go up this time.
“We did everything we could by winning on Saturday, but we expected Billingham to win their game.
“We will look to go again and target promotion in 2016, although the likes of Redcar and Marton, who have come down, will also be challenging.”
The batsman added: “I am very happy with the way the lads have played this season, it has been a good team effort.
“We have a great blend of youth and experience at the moment and our Aussie signing Richard Howe was excellent this season with both bat and ball.”
Howe was recommended to the club by a fellow Aussie who had played for Whitby, but Buck was surprised by the overseas star’s batting talents.
“We knew he would be a good player and would do well in this league considering the level which he played in Australia, but it was a pleasant surprise to see how good a batsman he was as we were told he was primarily a bowler.
“He has hit several centuries this season and half-a-dozen 50s so he has done superbly.”
Buck is unsure whether Howe will be returning to play for Whitby next season.
He added: “Richard has got a two-year visa but he has not decided on what he is doing next year, but we have another lad set to come over from the same team in Australia, so one way or another we will have an overseas player in 2016.”
The development of the younger players in the team has also pleased Buck, who said: “Our four young players, James Fawcett, Will Donald, Theo Clarke and Matthew Towey, aged between 18 and 21, have done well after coming up through from the under-14s and under-17s.
“We also have experienced players such as myself, Ron Lyth and Chris Lyth, so we have a good balance and the signs are good for the future.”