PREVIEW: Oundle have recruited heavily, Peterborough Town legend to play for Castor, all the ins and outs from the close season

James Kettleborough has signed for Oundle Town.
James Kettleborough has signed for Oundle Town.
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Oundle Town CC have made their intentions clear for the 2018 season by making eight new signings in the close season.

Ex-Northants batsman James Kettleborough is the star arrival from Northants Premier Division rivals Rushton. He scored 920 top-flight runs last summer at an average of 54 and will combine playing for Oundle with skippering Derbyshire seconds.

Tom Dixon is the man to watch for Bourne this season according to his skipper.

Tom Dixon is the man to watch for Bourne this season according to his skipper.

Wicket-keeper Sam Malton has also signed from Rushton, while Conor Craig, Dan Robinson and Tom Norman have all moved across from troubled Nassington.

Bowlers Tim Juggins (Stamford) and Liam Fresen (South Africa) have also moved to Milton Road, while Qadeer Mohammed has returned to the club.

Oundle start their Premier Division season at home to Brixworth on April 28 before making the short trip to Peterborough Town on May 5. A much-changed Peterborough Town team open their campaign at Rushden on April 28.

Here are the ins and outs of the top local clubs. More in-depth previews of the Cambs League and Lincs Premier Division - which kick off this Saturday (April 21) will appear later this week.

Conor Craig has moved from Nassington to Oundle.

Conor Craig has moved from Nassington to Oundle.

BOURNE

Competition: Lincs Premier Division.

Ins: No-one.

Outs: No-one.

One to watch: Captain Pete Morgan has nominated left-arm slow bowler and big six-hitting batsman Tom Dixon.

Club comment: “We’re aiming for the top three,” Morgan.

Swanny’s prediction: If they can rein in their aggressive batting they should comfortably be a top three side.

CASTOR

Competition: Cambs Division Two.

Ins: Dominic Ralfs, Idress Nemat, Kieran Rodgers.

Outs: Joseph Higgins.

One to watch: Ralfs will be lethal at Port Lane if anywhere near his 1990s form.

Club comment: “If we can get enough runs we will challenge for top spot,” captain Reece Smith.

Swanny’s prediction: Ralfs is 50 now, but could lead his new team to the top half.

MARCH TOWN

Competition: Cambs Division One.

Ins: Callum Young, Shardul Brahambhatt, Saranga Rajaguru.

Outs: Clinton Bricker.

One to watch: Rajaguru is a top quality batsman/leg-spinner.

Club comment: “With the players we have picked up, mid-table should be a realistic target,” veteran swing bowler Chris Ringham.

Swanny’s prediction: I reckon they could surprise a few this season. Eighth.

MARKET DEEPING

Competition: Lincs Premier Division.

Ins: Fachitria Perrera.

Outs: Nick Green, Zac Simmonds, Ashley Fisher.

Ones to watch: “I have a lot of faith in young players Josh Smith and James Hook,” captain Dave Sargeant.

Club comment: “We’ll do things our own way and we will be competitive,” Sargeant.

Swanny’s prediction: A lot will depend on the Sri Lankan import, but I can’t see a top-half finish without Green’s class.

OUNDLE TOWN

Competition: Northants Premier Division.

Ins: Conor Craig, Sam Malton, James Kettleborough, Tim Juggins, Liam Fresen, Mohammed Qadeer, Dan Robinson, Tom Norman.

Outs: Bashrat Hussain, Hanno Kotze.

One to watch: “Kettleborough is a class act, but I’m looking forward to seeing Conor Craig play. He has lots of talent with bat and ball,” skipper Mark Hodgson.

Club comment: “We’ve recruited well so hoping to be there or thereabouts at the top,” skipper Mark Hodgson,

Swanny’s prediction: Bowlers win leagues so South African youngster Fresen needs to be good. Batting line-up is very strong. Top three potential.

PETERBOROUGH TOWN

Competition: Northants Premier Division.

Ins: Rob Sayer, Vansh Bajaj, Matt Milner, Kieran Jones, Mark Edwards.

Outs: Joe Dawborn, Paul McMahon.

One to watch: Fit and firing fast bowler David Sayer could be spectacular to watch.

Club comment: “We aim to challenge for the title again despite losing a couple of top players,” captain David Clarke.

Swanny’s prediction: I can see them slipping out of the top three for the first time in a decade, unless the Sayers hit top form.

RAMSEY

Competition: Cambs Division One.

Ins: Matt Duncan, Nikhil Gotlania.

Outs: James Markland, Mark Edwards.

One to watch: Youngster Mark Saunders is decent with bat and ball.

Club comment: “We will be competitive and positive, despite losing a couple of key players,” captain Michael Cafferkey.

Swanny’s prediction: The Rams are always hard to beat, but top four might be the best they can do this season.

STAMFORD TOWN

Competition: Cambs Division Two.

Ins: Will Dyer, Arbas Nawaz, Ohnais Basharat.

Outs: Tim Juggins.

One to watch: The captain Tom Williams nominates off-spinning all-rounder Alex Birch after many match-winning displays for the team last season.

Club comment: “We can beat anyone on our day,” Williams.

Swanny’s prediction: Competitive enough to reach the top half.

UFFORD PARK

Competition: Cambs Division Two.

Ins: Henry Stephenson, Tom Cooper.

Outs: Tas Ahmed (retired).

One to watch: Joe Harrington, according to his captain.

Club comment: “Our aim is to win the league,” captain Ross Keymer.

Swanny’s prediction: The captain’s confidence is misplaced. A top-three finish would be considered a great effort.

WISBECH TOWN

Competition: Cambs Division One.

Ins: Wian Pretorious, Liam Barker, Chris Clark.

Outs: Parth Patel.

One to watch: Cambs Minor Counties captain James Williams’ increased availability is a huge boost.

Club comment: “I’m quietly confident we will have a great season,” captain Gary Freear.

Swanny’s prediction: If the overseas players are strong, then the Fenmen could well become champions.