In their bid to finish their Notts Premier League season strongly, the Nottinghamshire Academy a tough test this weekend when they face top of the league Cuckney.
Bowler George Bacon is under no illusions of the task at hand for his side.
“Cuckney are a strong side, with some very good players, some with experience and others with youth,” he said.
“We’re familiar with some of them from playing Second XI cricket, both with and against them, and we know it’ll be a tough test.”
“We’re not really in contention to win the league, or to go down, but we’re always looking up,” added Bacon.
“In the past couple of seasons we’ve finished in the top three, and we’re not looking to go any further than that. After Cuckney we have fixtures against teams below us, and I think that finishing near the top is achievable for us.”
"That innings was one of the best I’ve ever seen from anyone," George Bacon on Adam Tillcock's 97 at Trent Bridge
As part of the young Notts Outlaws XI who faced Bangladesh A earlier this week, Bacon made quite the impression on his Trent Bridge debut, taking two early wickets to see off two Bangladeshi batsmen with 16 Test caps between them.
His early impact was complemented by an extraordinary run chase that saw the Outlaws victorious in the final over.
“That experience will help us so much,” he said.
“Adam Tillcock was unbelievable, that innings was one of the best I’ve ever seen from anyone, let alone one of our young lads making his debut at 19.
“We’ll all take the experience and the confidence and with the help from Franksy, it’ll help us all develop.”
With the win at Trent Bridge fresh in the memory, Bacon was quick to quash any notion of the youngsters dwelling rather than maintaining their focus on the Cuckney fixture.
“It won’t be difficult to keep our concentration,” said Bacon.
“We get used to chopping between formats, a lot of us play Second XI cricket in the week and then Premier League at the weekend.
“Sometimes adapting to the 50 over game can be hard, it takes a little more to get the body going, but we all motivate each other, and the team spirit is excellent.”
“There are no ways of avoiding it, sometimes it’s hard to get motivated.
“But if you enjoy playing with the lads, and even being around them, it’s much easier.
“Cricket is our job, and we want it to be our living, and to be playing alongside the guys you also like being around when you’re winding down as well, it’s a great atmosphere.”
With the Academy’s place in the Notts Premier League all but cemented, but with top spot tantalizingly out of reach, Bacon was quick to point out that the bigger picture lay beyond a season’s points total.
“It’s easy to get bogged down in results,” he said.
“But the objective of this side is to help us to develop, rather than look at league positions.”
“With more games and more experience, the quality of our cricket will improve and with the bunch of lads that we have, there’s every chance of us doing well.”
Notts Academy face Cuckney at Cuckney Cricket Club, with play starting at 12.30.