Former Sedbergh student Jordan Clark eyeing end of season Lancashire glory with a focus on next summer (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Former Sedbergh student Jordan Clark eyeing end of season Lancashire glory with a focus on next summer
WHAT links Sir Garfield Sobers, Ravi Shastri, Herschelle Gibbs and Yuvraj Singh with a former Sedbergh student?
Earlier this summer, Lancashire’s Jordan Clark smashed six sixes from one Gurman Randhawa over during a second XI Roses Challenge match at Scarborough against bitter rivals Yorkshire.
The 22-year-old became the first Englishman and only the fifth professional cricketer to achieve the feat, surpassing the previous Lancastrian best of 34 set by Frank Hayes and Andrew Flintoff.
This propelled the all-rounder into the limelight and ensured his name would be forever linked with this esteemed group of elite players and alumni of the game.
Despite his history-making antics, Clark has been afforded only limited exposure to the Red Rose first-team this year, playing eight times in the YB40 competition and making a solitary FLt20 appearance.
However, his average of 36.25 in List A cricket – boosted by a valiant 62-ball 72 in defeat at Durham in June – was the fourth highest across the entire Lancashire squad.
And Clark already has half an eye on forcing his way into head coach Peter Moores’ plans for next season and making more of a splash at senior level.
“It was definitely a proud moment hitting six sixes in an over and reaching that milestone,” he said.
“It’s not something you plan for or something you work towards like getting into sides or doing well once you’ve forced your way into a team, it’s a bonus.
“I’m really happy it happened but I would have liked to have played a bit more cricket – I was involved in the majority of YB40 games but didn’t really take part in the t20s which is a shame.
“The shorter form of the game is my specialty really so I aim to go away this winter and better myself, work on my batting and bowling, and try to become an automatic pick next year.
“My ultimate goal is to cement my place in the side for the shorter forms of cricket and then if success comes hopefully get the gig in the four-day stuff.”
Lancashire famously won their first outright County Championship for 77 years in 2011 with a small tight-knit squad consisting mainly of home-grown players.
The hosting of an Ashes Test Match last month and the striking of a lucrative ten-year sponsorship deal with Dubai-based airline Emirates have meant an easing of financial constraints at Old Trafford.
This has allowed the Red Rose hierarchy to strengthen their squad and select from a greater pool of players, with the likes of Stephen Moore, Karl Brown and Steven Croft no longer automatic choices in the LV=County Championship.
And the hard-hitting batsman, who also bowls right-arm medium pace, appreciates the opportunity to ply his trade alongside more established professionals in the second XI.
“Everyone wants to play as much as they can but there was always going to be some chopping and changing given the size of the squad and people’s form,” he added.
“It’s enjoyable playing with experienced players and lining up alongside guys like Stephen Moore as they share what they have learnt over the years with the younger lads and give advice.
“If you’re unsure about anything or need to know something, it’s good knowing those sorts of characters are there, so having experience like that in the side is always an advantage.
“It’s always beneficial to have experience alongside some good young talent coming through.”
In 2008, Clark became only the second Cumbrian invited to join Lancashire’s academy before signing a scholarship contract in January 2010.
This was renewed ahead of the 2011 campaign, with the ex-Cumberland player – who was educated at Sedbergh between the ages of 14 and 18 – signing a professional deal later that year.
He was an integral part of the second XI Trophy winning side in 2012, silverware which could well find its way into the Old Trafford trophy cabinet again on Wednesday.
For the fifth successive year, Lancashire have reached the final and face Nottinghamshire at Welbeck Colliery Cricket Club.
And Clark – fresh from scoring a century against MCC Young Cricketers last week – has a firm focus on ending the season with a bang before turning his attention to future battles.
“We won the cup last year and we’ve made the final each season for the past five years,” he said.
“Nottinghamshire beat us in 2011 so we owe them one – it’s certainly a game to build up to and always an occasion you want to take part in.
“I spent last winter in Australia and there is a chance I could be going back to the same club in Melbourne but will just have to see what happens.
“The plan is to go away and work on a few things. I want to finish the season strongly, graft over the winter and see how it goes.
“Hopefully I can show some form next summer and push for inclusion in the first-team.”
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