COLWALL Cricket Club are targeting a return to the Worcestershire League's top flight in 2019, according to the club’s chairman Kim Berry.

Seventh place in Division One last season saw Colwall just miss out on the new Premier League.

But Berry, who was re-elected as chairman at their annual meeting, said all the signs were good for a rapid return to the top.

He said: “If we had won our last game at Worcester we would have qualified for the Premier League but playing in Division One next season will represent a real challenge.

"The new league structure is a welcome change and we are looking forward to it.

"We have already recruited a couple of new players and all the signs are encouraging for next year."

Berry warned the club would need to improve in terms of commitment and communication because there was strong competition from other local clubs.

But he felt they were in good shape and could look forward to a positive future, especially in the development of young players.

He continued: “We must look after our youngsters, particularly the junior sections.

"There is a problem of transition to the senior teams but we want to develop and retain our younger players.

"This has to be a priority and in conjunction with Herefordshire Cricket a number of new initiatives are being put in place to deliver this.”

He said the club will again field four senior teams with two in the Worcestershire League and two in the Marches League along with a side in the new Worcester Evening League captained by Ben Febery with Ben Wheeler assisting.

Ben Cooke will again skipper the first XI with Febery as vice-captain while the seconds will be led by Will Bishop who scored 650 runs at an average of 65 in 2018 and guided them to sixth place.

Berry praised the efforts of long-standing groundsman Derek Brimmell and assistant Harry Evans and thanked everyone involved in the thriving junior section which had seen over 170 children using the ground on Friday evenings including 60 girls registered in 2018.

He also paid tribute to senior side the CLOGS for their growing involvement.

Prior to the meeting the club enjoyed their annual dinner at the Colwall Park Hotel when more than 80 members and guests were entertained by ex-Worcestershire and England all-rounder Richard Illingworth, now a Test match umpire, who presented the club awards.

Alex Jenkins collected the Bannister Trophy for services to the club while first XI awards went to Fergus Cameron (batting), Michael Gooch (bowling) and Febery (young player).

Bishop (batting) and Steve Coffey (bowling) took the seconds honours while Steve Wright (batting) and Dick Tugwell (bowling) were the third XI recipients and Simon Oliver (senior player) and Mark Klasnikov (young player) the fourths.

Colwall begin indoor net sessions at Malvern College on February 5 when current players and prospective new members are welcome.