Date: 1st Sep 2014
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HEMAL WATEKAR TO BE AN ALDER STATESMAN

Date: 25th February 2013

A Paul Edwards copyright exclusive for L&DCC Official Website.

.....from Andhra to Alder.

Alder skipper Scott Aitchison is convinced his club has made a wise choice by engaging Indian all-rounder Hemal Watekar as its professional for the 2013 season.

The 35-year-old Andhra cricketer made 627 runs and took 70 wickets for Skelmersdale in 2008 and Aitchison believes that he is just the man to "steady the ship" after Alder's relegation to Division Two last year.

"You can go down cheaper routes but we needed someone who would be a safe pair of hands in every respect on the field and a good coach off it," he said. "We've seen Hemal play, we know he is a quality bat and he took a shed-load of wickets the last time he was in the Competition.

"He'll be in and around the club on a very regular basis, so our hope is that he'll leave a legacy and Alder will be a better place for him having been here. People like Hemal are not just professionals, they also become friends."

Watekar's wide-ranging professionalism - he is also a Level II coach - may be very welcome at  Alder this summer. After winning promotion in their debut season Aitchison's men were relegated in 2012, although victories against the likes of Newton-le-Willows, Ainsdale and Orrell Red Triangle in the second half of the campaign indicated that they were nobody's pushovers.

"Not having a pro in the first half of the season really killed us," said Aitchison. "We didn't win a game in that period but recorded four victories thereafter. Eight wins would have put us right up there in a wet summer. It was a real honour to play in the First Division but we had to dig in and instead we were a bit naive."

There will also be other changes of personnel at the club this season. Rob Magee has left, Neil Durand has got a job working in the commercial department at Lord's and Aitchison expects Mark Brick to depart as well. The skipper is already in discussions with the Huyton pair Dave Conlan and Peter White and hopes that they will sign in due course.

It should all make for an interesting summer for a man who is in his 17th year at Alder.

"This is my second spell as skipper and I suppose I'm just a general dogsbody," said Aitchison. "But we're in a transitional phase and it's a real blow to lose someone like Neil, who was a real institution at Alder."   

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