High hopes for Premier League pair

Ashley Fisher
Ashley Fisher
  • Lincolnshire ECB Premier League

One of the biggest hitters on the local circuit has left the Abbey Lawn.

Conrad Louth’s quality stroke-play for Bourne made him one of the most feared batsmen in the Lincolnshire ECB Premier League, but he will be playing nearer to his Berkshire home this summer.

Pete Morgan

Pete Morgan

It’s a big hole to fill, 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.”

We ought to finish in the top half again, but if we put a solid six months together who knows?

David Gillett

Morgan is pleased to have recruited a quality spin bowler in Ben Collins from Uppingham and a strong all-round presence in Matt Kidd who arrives 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, meanwhile, wants his team to pace themselves better this summer.

Meli Adatia

Meli Adatia

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?

“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 Worcestershire Academy commitments mean he can only play for Deeping at the start and the end of the summer.

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 then. Aussie import Zac Simmonds heads a slow-bowling set which also includes wily Meli Adatia and new signing Dan Bendon.

“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 Lincolnshire ECB Premier League starts on Saturday with Deeping at home to Sleaford and Bourne away to Louth (noon starts).

Bourne and Deeping start their Rutland League Division One seasons off with home matches against Barnack and Oundle respectively on Sunday.

Deeping were promoted from Division Two at the end of last season.

Champions Uppingham start the defence of their top-flight title with a game at Bourne on April 24.

BOURNE

MAIN LEAGUE

Lincolnshire ECB Premier League.

CAPTAIN

Pete Morgan.

INS

Matt Kidd (Swindon), Ben Collins (Uppingham).

OUTS

Conrad Louth (Berkshire).

ONE TO WATCH

The captain speaks very highly of Kidd, a fast bowler and classy bat.

CLUB COMMENT

“I’m hoping for a top-three finish,” Morgan.

PREDICTION

Top three if the rest of the team can back up Morgan’s batting class.

MARKET DEEPING

MAIN LEAGUE

Lincolnshire ECB Premier League.

CAPTAIN

David Gillett.

INS

Dan Bendon (Rushton), Ashley Fisher (Newborough), Pat Harrington (Spalding), Zac Simmonds (Australia), Ross Harris (Newborough).

OUTS

Tom Andrews (Surrey), Ajaz Akhtar (Peterborough Town), Emile Kriek (South Africa).

ONE TO WATCH

Bendon is a high-class, all-round recruit.

CLUB COMMENT

“We want a top-half finish for sure, but we’re capable of doing even better,” Gillett.

PREDICTION

Top four only if the wickets take spin.

FIXTURES

SATURDAY

LINCOLNSHIRE ECB PREMIER LEAGUE (NOON)

Bracebridge Heath v Skegness, Grantham v Boston, Louth v Bourne, Market Deeping v Sleaford, Nettleham v Grimsby, Woodhall Spa v Lindum.

SOUTH LINCS & BORDER LEAGUE

Premier Division (1pm): Billingborough v Belton Park, Boston 2nd v Grantham 2nd, Bourne 2nd v Spalding, Stamford v Woodhall Spa 2nd.

Division One (1pm): Skegness 2nd v Grantham 3rd.

Division Two (1pm): Long Sutton 2nd v Spalding 3rd.

SUNDAY

RUTLAND LEAGUE

Division One (1pm): Bourne v Barnack, Market Deeping v Oundle.

Division Three (1pm): Long Sutton v Kettering, Stewart & Lloyds v Wisbech Town 2nd.

Division Four (1pm): Kimbolton v Thrapston, Loddington & Mawsley v Hampton, Nassington 2nd v Bourne 2nd.

Division Five (1pm): Uppingham 2nd v Alconbury.

Division Six (1pm): Orton Park 2nd v Hampton 2nd, Uffington 2nd v Long Sutton 2nd, Ufford Park 2nd v Newborough 2nd.