CHARLIE Barnard, Hyde Cricket Club’s talented teenager, has won a place at Lancashire’s academy
The 17-year-old all-rounder joins Hyde’s Keshana Fonseka who has retained his place in the academy, an elite group containing 13 of the best young players.
Indeed, Hyde would have had three players in the Lancashire academy had Luke Young not been released at the end of last season.
Only the very finest players, between the ages of 16 and 19, make it into this select group, where they will be closely mentored by the Lancashire coaching team of Steve Titchard, Karl Krikken and Graham Onions.
Barnard joined Hyde for the 2021 season from neighbours Newton with whom he played second team cricket the previous year.
And he enjoyed a hugely successful first season in senior cricket as Hyde finished eighth in the premier division of the Cheshire County League.
Starting the season batting at number 11, Barnard finished the season as number four having scored 419 runs at an average of 38.09, including a season’s best knock of 76 in the last game of the season against Chester.
The left arm spin bowler also claimed 29 wickets, with a best return of five wickets for 42 runs from 15 overs against Oxton.
Before being snapped up by Lancashire, Barnard had been in Cheshire’s academy and played for that county in age group cricket.
There have been changes in the playing personnel at Hyde where Young has rejoined after a successful season with rivals Chester Boughton Hall and they have also signed Andrew Jackson who has been described as one of Cheshire’s finest all-rounders.
But they have lost two players as Cole Turner has left for a new challenge at Formby while Jason Whittaker has moved to Bolton club Egerton to play alongside his son.
Their loss has been offset by the capture of Young and all-rounder Jackson, previously of Toft, as he has relocated to take up a teaching post at Manchester Grammar School.
Young, who joined Hyde at the age of 14, left for Chester Boughton Hall where the all-rounder scored almost 400 runs and claimed 34 wickets.
Jackson is described as an “economical and wicket-taking opening bowler and destructive middle-order bat”.
His signing is a coup for Hyde and club secretary John Buckley said: “We are so pleased to welcome one of Cheshire cricket’s finest all-rounders.
“Andrew is young and ambitious, with his best years ahead of him. He joins an equally young and ambitious team. Everyone at Hyde is excited by the news of Andrew’s signing. We can’t wait to see him in action.”
Whittaker, who many believe has been one of Hyde’s greatest ever cricketers, has left after eight seasons to play alongside his son at Egerton.
During his time at Hyde, Whittaker, 50, helped the club to both the Cheshire Cup and Premier League titles twice, and was instrumental in returning the club to the Premiership in 2018, by winning the Championship, following relegation the previous year.
Since joining Hyde in 2014, Whittaker has bowled 2,043 overs and taken 399 wickets at the impressive average of 17.12. He has also made 1,385 runs, with a highest score of 48.
Hyde also have a new captain with Danny Cranmer taking over from Tom Partridge who has stepped down after three years to focus on his batting.
Cranmer said: “I’m taking over the role at a very exciting time, with a new generation of players.
“Hyde have some of the best young players in the county and with them already showing that they can compete at this level and gaining valuable experience, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Hyde.”
Partridge said: “It’s been a great privilege to captain Hyde over the last three years and an experience I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Taking over when we first returned to the Premier League and winning the Cheshire Cup that year was the clear highlight.
“The club has been going through a big transition and it’s crazy to think that from that Cheshire Cup winning side in 2018 only four players remain.
“Last season saw the rise and coming of age of some outstanding youngsters, Ben Balderson, Charlie Barnard, James Chew, Kesh Fonseka and Noah Vickery all played a huge part with both bat and ball and ultimately helped us retain Premier League status.”
• George Balderson, another of the jewels who came through Hyde’s successful youth system, has signed a contract extension with Lancashire until 2024.
Balderson, one of four home-grown players to be handed new deals, was last season named Lancashire’s young player of the year.
All-rounder Balderson’s form in the Royal London Cup earned him a place in Glen Chapple’s side for the County Championship title run-in, promoted to open the batting following injury to Keaton Jennings.
Balderson scored a first-class career best 77 against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, before taking five wickets in the nail-biting win over Hampshire at Liverpool.
The 21-year-old ended the season with another half-century in the final of the Bob Willis Trophy at Lord’s.