GRAHAM Charlesworth hopes to bring former England batsman John Crawley to Abingdon Vale after taking over as captain.

Oxford University head coach Charlesworth moved up to skipper the side after Danny Hartley chose to step down.

And while he is keen to champion Vale’s youth system, he has also been in touch with Crawley – Magdalen College School’s new head of cricket.

“John was my captain at Cambridge University,” said Charlesworth.

“I told him he must come and play for us, but I have left it for him to decide.

“He will be very busy during term time, but if he can play for us in July and August, he will really enjoy it.

“It would be great to see him, but I am not too sure what his ambitions are now.

“I will keep working on it.”

Charlesworth, 46, hopes to bring on a young player to succeed him as captain, but felt it was the right time for him to fulfil the role.

“I have been playing at Abingdon for two years now and I was hoping to find a younger guy to do the job, but most of the university guys are not around all the time,” said Charlesworth.

“I am chairman of cricket and thought I would do it and get a young vice-captain working with me.”

Charlesworth said Vale were “quite ambitious”, but wanted to promote their strong youth set-up rather than importing too many senior players.

He said: “We want to get juniors to come through and play second and first-team cricket.

“A lot of clubs want a quick fix and flash money around, but we are quite an old-fashioned club in many ways.”

In the shorter term, Vale are aiming to get their first team into Cherwell League Division 1.

Charlesworth said: “Our second team got promoted last year.

“We wanted to get the first-team promoted as well and it was very close. We are hoping we can go one step further this year.

“We are doing it the right way. We are growing organically rather than flashing money around the place.”

Charlesworth also wants to instill some of the techniques he uses to coach at a higher level.

He said: “Our pre-season will be more intense and focused this year, rather than a jolly old net.

“You can’t change the whole club in one fell swoop, but you can make progress.”

l THE amount of Abingdon Vale junior members selected to represent the county or district this season is at an all-time high.

There will be 34 youngsters from the club playing junior representative cricket this season, a figure well up on the 21 from last season and almost three times that from 2010 where just 12 received call-ups.