New Market Deeping captain Dave Sargent has some pretty big boots to fill, but he’s confident he’ll cope comfortably with the pressure.
Dave Gillett has been the main man at Outgang Road for most of the last two decades, but he’s stepped down for this summer to concentrate on his batting.
Wicket-keeper Sargent leads his team into battle for the first time in a Lincs Premier Division home match against Woodhall Spa tomorrow (April 22), but there’s no chance that Gillett will be left to graze in the outfield.
“It’s important for me to have ‘Gilly’ by my side,” Sargent said. “I will be my own man, but I’d be a fool to ignore the experience ‘Gilly’ has of the club and of skippering at this level.
“He will be my sounding board as we look to match last season when we were in and around the leaders for most of the season.
“We have some great young players coming through and we also plenty of experience in the side to help them.
“I’m not fazed by having to keep wicket and captain the side. I did it before when I was playing in Colchester.”
Deeping finished fourth in the Premier Division last season, but they were just seven points off finishing second.
Veteran off-spinner Meli Adatia is expected to miss most of the summer with a shoulder injury, but Australian slow bowler Zac Simmonds is back for a second season with the club.
Bourne weren’t happy at finishing two places below Deeping last season and the 2014 champions expect to clamber back into the top four at least this summer.
They’ve added top order batsman Quewin O’Connor from South Africa to a squad that proved more adept at Twenty/20 cricket than the longer form of the sport last year.
Spalding have yo-yoed between the Lincs Prem and the South Lincs Prem in recent years, but they are confident of staying in the big-time for longer this time around, even if they are irritated at losing two top young talents - Jimmy Hook and David Thomas - to Deeping.
Skipper Rob Ambrose said: “Our start will be crucial, but I’m confident we will be a lot more competitive than in our last season at this level.
“Signing Johnny Miles is a real bonus. He’s a top Premier Division opening bowler, something we’ve lacked in the past.”