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Hatherley and Reddings looking to build on last season

All Areas > Sport > Cricket

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Friday, 29th April 2022, 09:10

Max Kelly took over as full-time captain of Hatherley and Reddings at the start of last season Max Kelly took over as full-time captain of Hatherley and Reddings at the start of last season

Hatherley and Reddings captain Max Kelly has been going for a lot of runs… but supporters of the club needn’t worry, he hasn’t suddenly become a poor bowler overnight.

You see, Kelly, who is a very decent off-spinner, is also a very keen runner and he’d just completed a run when he spoke to The Local Answer.

“I do a lot of running, particularly half-marathons,” the 25-year-old said. “I have a coach, Mark Hughes, and Joel Frost, who was in Hatherley’s first team last season, trains with me.”

Ask Kelly whether he prefers cricket or running and he can’t choose but it’s fair to say that it is the former that will take up more of his time over the coming summer.

Kelly is preparing for his second full season as skipper and it must be said that his first campaign went pretty well because Hatherley finished seventh in the 10-strong Premier Two Glos/Wilts, the first time the club have managed to stay in the division.

“I was officially named captain at the start of last season,” Kelly said. “The season before I did it on an interim basis, stepping in for Owen Price when he was unavailable due to work commitments.”

Kelly is a big fan of Price, also an off-spinner, and someone who made a very big impression during his time as captain.

“I played with Owen for five or six seasons, he was brilliant,” said Kelly. “I can’t speak highly enough of him, he was one of the best captains we’ve ever had, they are big shoes to fill!

“He’ll be involved in the first team for sure this season, he’s still one of the best players at the club.

“He might also play a bit for the 2nd XI as well because we’re going to field predominantly younger players in that team this season, that’s something that is very exciting.”

Kelly, who lives in Cheltenham, knows all about coming through the club’s ranks because he has been at Hatherley since the under-9s.

“I came through the youth system,” he said. “It’s been a long time but it’s been a good time.”

Bowling is very much his strength, he tends to bat lower down the order at eight, nine or 10.

“I really enjoy batting but I probably don’t back myself enough,” he admitted, before adding, “but bowling is my absolute love, I love bowling. Unfortunately you’re not allowed to bowl more than 10 overs in the league.”

So what is it that he likes about bowling so much?

“I love the challenge,” he said. “Trying to work a batsman out, how to bowl to them, how to stop them scoring, how to get them out.”

That’s pretty much the same thought processes as a captain, of course, which may explain why Kelly has made such a good start to his time as skipper.

And while last season represented a big step forward for the club, Kelly wants more this time around.

“I want to build on last season,” he said. “I want us to challenge teams in the top half of the table. We were competitive in most games last season but now I want us to start winning them.

“Finishing in the top half is the ambition. We’ve got the players who can deliver, now it’s a question of doing it.” 

Kelly will be key if they are to finish in the top five, of course, so what sort of captain is he?

“I think I’m pretty calm,” he said. “I like to lead by example, I’m not one for raising my voice.

“Owen Price was a genius, but I like to think that I work really hard – get to the club early, train the hardest, train the longest – and hopefully that’s infectious.”

The one-time Bournside School pupil is grateful for the backing he has received from his team-mates and he also has plenty of support off the field.

His dad David, an ex-1st XI player and also a former youth coach at the club, remains a big supporter of all things Hatherley and Reddings along with his mum Sarah and sister Lauren.

They, along with all the club’s supporters, will be hoping that players such as James Harber can continue the form of last season.

“He’s a very good all-rounder,” said Kelly. “He opens the bowling and bats at five. He scored 138 in a game last season, he’s really, really good.

“Tom Hage is another very good player, he’s a prolific runscorer for us. Over the last few years our bowling has been really good, we’ve got a lot of options, but we’re working really hard on our batting too.”

And if hard work counts for anything – Kelly will be leading the way, of course – it could be another very good season for Hatherley.

Other Images

Max Kelly is targeting a top half finish in Premier Two Glos/Wilts

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