One of the biggest hitters on the local circuit has left the Abbey Lawns.
Conrad Louth’s quality stroke-play for Bourne made him one of the most feared batsmen in the Lincs Premier Division, but he will be playing nearer to his Berkshire home this summer.
It’s a big hole to fill this summer, but skipper Pete Morgan reckons his team can do it.
“We won’t replace the speed with which Conrad scored his runs, but we can score as many,” Morgan said.
“We still have a good batting line-up. We might just have to bat with more responsibility.”
Morgan is pleased to have recruited a quality spin bowler in Ben Collins from Uppingham _ a one-time England Under 19 player - and a strong all-round presence in Matt Kidd from the Swindon area.
“I’m happy with the squad,” Morgan added. “We have depth in batting and bowling and recruiting a high-class spin bowler in Ben is a real bonus .”
Market Deeping skipper David Gillett wants his team to pace themselves better this summer. A strong start last season turned into a disappointing sixth-place finish, two places behind Bourne.
Gillett said: “We ought to finish in the top half again, but if we put a solid six months together who knows where we will end up?
“We have tended to start really well and then fade away a bit, but the squad looks strong and I expect us to be very competitive all summer.
“We bat right down to number 11 and we have plenty of bowling. We might need to be more selfish though and make sure we all score our runs and not leave it for others.”
Teenage fast bowler Pat Brown’s Worcester Academy commitments mean he can only play for Deeping at the start and the end of the summer, while Tom Andrews has left the club to play nearer his Surrey home and Ajaz Akhtar has returned ‘home’ to Bretton Gate after a brief flirtation at Outgang Road.
Spin could be king at Outgang Road then. Aussie import Zac Simmonds heads a slow-bowling set-up which also includes wily Meli Adatia and new signing Dan Bendon, a top-class batsman who bowls wicket-taking leg-spinners.
“Looking at the league stats in recent seasons, good slow bowlers have been key to the teams who have been successful,” Gillett added. “And we now have three good spin bowlers.”
The Lincs Premier Division starts on Saturday (April 16) with Market Deeping at home to Sleaford and Bourne away to Louth (noon starts).
Bourne (home to Barnack) and Deeping (home to Oundle) open their Rutland Division One campaigns on Sunday (April 17, 1pm starts) when Cambs also play Hunts in a minor counties friendly at St Ives.
Peterborough Telegraph previews for the Cambs League and Northants Premier Division will be online on Sunday. Both competitions start on April 23.
The Hunts League starts on April 30.