Interview with Lee Kenyon, Captain of the Third XI

Firstly, you have arguably the hardest playing role in the club – can you tell me how it came about, you deciding to take up the huge responsibility of developing the RCC Third XI?

It came about through a chance conversation with Jon Fielding and then following a meeting with director of cricket Andy Dalby the rest is history. It was a no brainer really it’s an honour to play and captain here.

This will be your second year in charge – can you summarise how you felt your debut season went both personally and as a team?

As the captain you couldn’t ask for anything more than dedication and effort. The lads are still learning this and especially in the way we approach training and match days. We lost the opening game in April despite having Crompton 37-7. We then went undefeated until September – finishing runners up after losing the final to Walsden. We also finished with five league performance winners. Personally it was a mixed bag for me playing wise. I tried to take a backseat and let the lads do their business. However I struggled early on with my batting as I concentrated so hard on doing the captains role. With the help and support of Jon Fielding and a few net sessions later I went back to basics and my next three innings were: 25 against Crompton, 51 against Clitheroe and 36 not out in my batting debut for the 2XI against Burnley. So thanks Jon!!!

The League Execs made some bold steps to reduce the distance of away games. What are your thoughts on the current league structure?

It’s a strange one for me, while I have no issue with the league format it seems odd logistically to not play against the likes of Haslingden and Rawtenstall but travel to Clitheroe twice! A cup competition would be a great addition come the end of the group stages. If you are not competing for the title there are a lot of dead rubber games in my opinion. But the format is still in its infancy and it’s refreshing the LL committee have proactively looked at avenues to improve the league so with a few tweaks it will work well.

With a nucleus of talented youngsters coming through what role do you play in their development?

It’s predominantly about giving them the confidence and courage to play their own game and believe in themselves and trust each other. It’s about learning what makes each player tick and providing the right tools and environment to maximise their opportunities to succeed.

Which players are you looking to develop further this season?

I’ve already been liaising with Phil Croft (Junior Foundation Chairman) and we have plenty of players who we will be looking to develop further this season. Tom Ireland & Toby Ashworth played a majority of 3rd XI games aged 13, Ollie Croft made his debut at the age of 12 and with Harry joining us from Greenmount (plays for Lancashire) the coaches will all be working hard throughout the summer. My remit is to explore avenues to integrate them into senior cricket seamlessly.

What are your goals for the season?

To win the league! After finishing second last season we have set the benchmark and anything less will be disappointing
If every player can improve 10% on their own 2018 stats we won’t be far off.

As a club – who are the players you enjoy watching and why?

Anyone who plays 3rd XI cricket for me! 

Lastly – What’s it like sharing a dressing room with the likes of Raza?

I prefer a noisy dressing room and we have some great characters, there’s never a dull moment. I tend to sit in my corner with my ears bleeding listening to what DJ Doyle describes as ‘absolute bangers’.

April 2019