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New Bootle skipper hails changing of the guard
Jamie Bowman - Friday 24th April 2015

Bootle skipper Craig Prince (pictured left) believes this year's Liverpool and District Cricket Competition could be the most exciting for years ahead of this weekend's opening league.

29 year old Prince has taken over at Wadham Road this season from club legend David Snellgrove and after being part of the Bootle side which carried almost all before it a few years back, he is keen to bring the good times back to a club for whom last year's sixth place was not good enough.

"For Bootle to survive as a club, the first team has to be successful," said Prince. "Because of the area we are in and the fact people can drift off to support Liverpool or Everton we need to be successful."

To ensure the club’s return to the right end of the table, the new skipper has signed Chris Stenhouse from Birkenhead Park and persuaded former Leigh skipper Neil Williams to return to the Liverpool Competition. 22 year old all rounder Scott Butterworth also joins from Rochdale alongside former Liverpool captain Ashley McDonald.

"We have brought in five new players and already they have had an impact which is great from my point of view," said Prince, who led his side to victory in last week’s Ray Digman Knockout Trophy clash with New Brighton.

"The players who we've signed are all experienced league cricketers. Players like Stenhouse and McDonald and in Neil we have one of the best wicket keepers in the county who has come in straight away like he has never been away. Scott will also be a very big player for us this year and he is an extremely talented all rounder."

Getting the right men on the pitch is only part of Prince’s vision for Bootle and the skipper has been quick to promote new ideas and thinking from top to bottom.

"We have tried to change the mentality of the club a little bit and produce positive vibes through the players, supporters and officials," said Prince.

"I think we needed a new outlook and we certainly needed to freshen up the playing side of things. We've done that superbly and everyone has slotted in with how we want to do things. It's a about a good work ethic, positivity and also an aggressive approach when we are fielding, bowling and batting. It all came together really nicely against New Brighton.

Prince has also been a vocal supporter of Opening Up - a new project promoting mental well being and suicide prevention through cricket.

"We have worked hard during the winter and worked with Opening Up pre-season," said Prince, who invited the volunteers behind the project to take a 'mind and body' cricket fitness sessions to address the mental as well as physical health of his players.

"I think you have to think outside the box now," said Prince. "There has been a big change in the league this year with new young captains at Wallasey, Ormskirk and New Brighton.

"These young cricketers are thinking differently mainly because of the influence of T20 cricket. You have to be positive and that’s how we are going to approach every game."

As well as his younger rivals, Prince is wary of his former skipper Ian Cockbain who has taken over at a resurgent Formby.

"This year will be a really good league and really competitive," added Prince. "Even though you’ve still got all these young captains you've still got the grand master who’ll be plodding around at Formby. Any team that is captained by Ian Cockbain will be a threat."