Cricket: Plant backs Wheeldon to fire on all cylinders
CHEADLE captain Simon Plant has backed Dave Wheeldon to snap out of his early-season slump.
The Staffordshire batsman was tipped to make a big impression at club and county level following his winter release by Worcestershire.
But the 23-year-old left-hander has mustered just 59 runs in five innings for the Moorlanders so far, with a top score of 25.
However, Plant believes Wheeldon will soon be showcasing his ability in the Premier Division once again.
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"It's horrible to see Dave struggling and I really feel for the lad," said Plant.
"There's not been a lot of luck go his way and he's had some decent deliveries as well.
"He's low on confidence, but I think he just has to relax a bit more. Dave has so much ability and should back himself.
"Everyone at the club has faith him and, one day, a team is going to be on the receiving end when he hits form. I pity whoever that is.
"Dave spent a fair bit of time at the crease against Little Stoke last weekend and hopefully he can build on that.
"He is a class act and I'd love to have even half of his talent.
"I have no doubts Dave will come good."
The wet weather has made batting a perilous exercise in the opening weeks of the season, but Plant has a player at his disposal who has conquered the bowler-friendly conditions.
Shaun Jenkinson has racked up 281 runs in all competitions so far, which has helped Cheadle settle in mid-table after winning promotion.
"Jenko has been fantastic for us and he plays an aggressive game," added Plant, who takes his side to Longton tomorrow.
"He's also helpful to me as a skipper because he has Premier Division experience from his time at Stone, which is invaluable.
"We're happy with the way we've started. We've won two on the bounce and are playing good cricket.
"Longton are a decent side, but it is important that we concentrate on what we're good at, rather than worrying about them."
Elsewhere in the top flight tomorrow, leaders Leek welcome Porthill Park to Highfield, bottom-of-the-table Burslem will strive to pick up their first win at Hem Heath and struggling Little Stoke host Wood Lane.
Winless Knypersley entertain Stone at Tunstall Road and Checkley, who are riding high in second place, make the trip to Audley.