PREVIEW: Bold noises from Castor camp, long-serving Vitas happy to survive
Castor skipper Reece Smith isn't afraid of a bold prediction.
The Port Lane boys are back in the Cambs League after a three-year absence and Smith expects them to take a big step up in standard in their stride.
Castor certainly have the form figures to back up Smith’s confidence. They’ve not stopped winning since giving up their Cambs League place just before the 2014 campaign when they dropped into Hunts Division Three.
“We have a great chance of winning Cambs Division Two,” Smith said. “We’ve won three promotions in the last three seasons and lost five games in ythe process.
“We won’t be fearing anyone. Teams won’t like coming to Port Lane and we’ll surprise teams away from home just like we did last season.
“We’ve recruited well and players like Stuart Dockerill, who has been brilliant for us, will improve further by playing at a higher standard.”
Castor will have Ufford Park for company in Division Two, but there will no local games against Newborough (relegated) or March Town (promoted).
March join a First Division stacked with local talent. Ramsey, Wisbech and Nassington all expect to challenge for honours, even though the latter have lost gifted slow bowler Harrison Craig to Oundle.
Some shrewd judges also expect Ketton to be in the mix, although not necessarily long-serving captain Rob Vitas.
Vitas will be happy to celebrate his 10th season as captain (he’s the longest serving skipper in the Premier Division) by surviving in the top flight, an aim made harder by the departure of high-class spin bowler Ulrich Van Duyker, but easier by the arrival of Scottish age group cricketer Tom Sole from Finedon and Bengali internationals Iresh Saxena.
“The Cambs League just gets stronger and stronger,” Vitas stated. “The change in format (it’s a win/lose league) has been a reason for that.
“It will be hard cricket in the Premier Division and we would certainly take survival now.
“Uli was the leading wicket-taker in the country in each of the last two seasons so he is a giant hole to fill.”
Nassington have prolific run scorer Dan Robinson back after a season-long absence with a knee injury.
Wisbech, who finished second last summer, are confident their overseas recruit from New Zealand Parth Patel will be a big hit, while Ramsey, who were fourth, have been bolstered by two Australian signings.
Wisbech will miss last season’s skipper Sam Rippington as the opening bowler has moved to Burwell of the East Anglian Premier Division.