Life in the Ribblesdale League wasn’t easy for new boys Euxton earlier this season.
But that has all changed thanks to the arrival of
South African Ulricht Van Duyker.
The club recruited Ulricht, who lives in Port Elizabeth, as an overseas amateur after a deal for Jan Steenkamp fell through and an injury to Shershan Naidoo required him to return home.
But as soon as the phone call was made to sign Uli – as he’s known by his friends – he couldn’t wait to make the trip.
He said: “I didn’t think twice about coming.
“As soon as it was arranged, I got my visa sorted and booked a ticket.
“I had planned to stay in South Africa but the opportunity came and I couldn’t say no.”
Before Van Duyker’s arrival, Euxton had struggled in the league and cup with only one win in 13 games.
But as soon as Uli arrived, the club received a much-needed morale boost and haven’t looked back since.
Losing only one of the last six, Van Duyker’s form has been praised by all, although he feels there is still room for improvement.
He said: “I’m pleased with the way I’ve started but personally I always want to do better.
“I’m feeling good about my game and I always want to put in a special performance.”
Having already toured in England before, Uli knew what to expect although he’s impressed with the standard of the league.
He said: “The league is very good.
“I know I can’t just go out and think it’s easy.
“Some opposition bowlers do swing it both ways, and it’s tough.”
With the instant success he has brought to the club, it would be understandable for him to feel under pressure, but Uli is the total opposite.
He added: “ I feel hardly any pressure, if anything a challenge simply motivates me to do even better.
“I’m a big-match player and really enjoy the responsibility.”
Ulricht, 24 has a lot of praise for his team-mates, who he says have grown in confidence since the side started winning.
He said: “The team has become much more confident, and everyone is much more eager and you can see it both and off the field.
“People are now looking at Euxton differently and don’t just see them as a rollover club.”
Already a qualified level two coach, Uli still has high expectations for his cricket back home.
Before the close of the 2012 season, he broke into the Eastern provincial side.
After making a handful of appearances then, it is something he wants to build on.
He said: “Next season I want a full year of provincial cricket under my belt.
“Then I want to go even further and hopefully gain a contract with the Warriors (a South African franchise).”
A true family man and people person, Uli made special comments towards a number of people who have helped shape his career.
He said: “I want to thank my mum and dad, Ian Smith from the Roland National Cricket Academy, Mark Roby, Shaun Whinney and Johan Fourie, but also team-mates and friends, who have supported me throughout.”
Playing professionally is a target for Uli, but for he is only concentrating at short-term goals.
First, his focus is on
Euxton securing safety in the Houldsworth Ribblesdale League.
He said: “Yes turning professional is big dream of mine, but opportunities aren’t always handed to you and you must work for them.
“But for now I want to look at the small picture.
“I’m not too worried about getting loads of runs and wickets myself – I’d rather see positive club results and the team winning.”