WOKING & Horsell president Billy Hargan believes that despite a slow start to the season, the second XI have the talent to push for promotion this year. 

The team play in AJ Sports Surrey Championship 2nd XI Division Four and feature the president’s sons John and Angus, the latter as skipper.

Hargan senior, who has been president for two years, told the News & Mail: “They’ve not really got going yet. 

“They’ve been a bit disrupted by various things and were a wee bit unfortunate in a couple of games.

“They’ve got the talent. One or two players are out of form, and if they can get some runs behind them they’ll do okay.

“The most important thing, as with all games of cricket, is as long as you’re not getting hammered or indeed you’re not hammering the other team, that’s all that matters.”

The second XI are managed by Seb Egan, who has been at Brewery Road for eight years and is also the club’s treasurer. 

Of the team’s fortunes, he said: “Promotion would be our dream goal for the season, back up to Division Three. 

“However, so far results haven’t gone our way but that is a trend of past seasons and we always seem to turn up the heat about now-ish. 

 “It takes us four to five weeks to gel again as a unit. But once we do, we go from strength to strength and I hope that we finish either in second place or top of the table.” 

Asked how he explains that change in form and if a settled side helps, he said: “Yes. I’d put it down to that. It depends on what the first XI are doing and have got strength-wise. 

“A lot of the time we find that we have quite a strong team and then the next week our bones are picked dry. But we seem to have very good availability as a club on the whole this season.”

Egan – who joined the club as a scorer, a role he maintains – said of being the seconds’ manager: “Gus [Angus Hargan] runs it as the captain on and off the pitch and I just organise the team a little bit and make sure that things run smoothly.

“I love organisation and I love seeing the team going in the right direction. 

“Being the treasurer, I can help manage the finances for training gear. So if the first XI get training gear, I make sure we get training gear – and it means that we’re on par with them.”

Angus Hargan said of his 22-year association with the club: “I joined when I was five years old. So I’ve played all the way through. 

“I played my first proper adult game when I was 12 and I did a little bit of filling in when I was 10 with the fourth XI. 

“I’m one of the few guys in the club who’s played for every team from the first XI to the fifth XI over that time. 

“I also played on Sundays with my older brother and my dad, which is always one of the nice things about cricket. It’s a fickle old sport – but it has its positives.”

Reflecting on the second XI’s start to the season, he said: “We’ve struggled in a few games. The scorelines have probably flattered our opponents in ways where we’ve been one dropped catch, or a good partnership from the opponents, away from breaking games open. 

“There’ve been games this season where it looks like we lost pretty comfortably if you look at the scorecard but we were actually just one or two moments away from a pretty tight contest. 

“Our plans this year are to be looking more towards the top of the table rather than the bottom. 

“But after our start it’s a bit of a mountain to climb if we’re looking for promotion, but it’s always a goal. 

“We’ve got a talented enough squad to be up there. And with a bit of a rub of the green and a bit more execution at our end, there’s no reason we couldn’t be up there.

“We don’t train. People are busy and we can’t always get the numbers to training, which hinders you at the start of the season because nothing can replace minutes batting and bowling.”

Two key members of the seconds’ attack are seamers Johnny Ayling, 32, and the youngest member of the team, Aaron Marsh, who turns 15 next month. 

Ayling was persuaded to turn his hand to cricket by John Hargan when he was 18.

“John and I were swimmers,” said Ayling. “I got injured and he invited me down about 14 years ago and I’ve never looked back. 

“It’s a lovely sport. I like the club, I like the people and it’s a lovely place to come down and play.

“This year is a real rebuilding year. 

“Gus has taken over the captaincy and it’s about bringing players like Aaron in and some of us older players backing him up, which is how it should be. 

“You get to an age and you want to see the youngsters coming through.”

Marsh, who came through the club’s junior ranks and is playing his first season for the second XI, said: “It’s fun. The people are nice and it’s a good way to spend a Saturday.”

Asked if his target is to make the first XI, he said: “Not at the moment – but in the future, yes. Right now I’m really happy here in the twos.”

And of what makes Woking & Horsell a special place to play cricket, Marsh – whose father played for the club – said: “It’s the people. 

“I’ve got friends in my age group and all the adults are nice and friendly.”