Warren Nel has set his sights on breaking the Lincs Premier League batting record after making a superb start to the season in Spalding’s draw with Market Deeping on Saturday.
The experienced South African hit an unbeaten 116 from 135 balls, including 15 fours and a six, which was in stark contrast to the corresponding fixture last year.
He said: “Last year we also started the season with a home match against Market Deeping and I was out for a duck so it went much better on Saturday.
“Every year I set myself a target of reaching 1,000 runs and that is again my first goal but I would love to break the league record.”
Former New Zealand international Tim McIntosh amassed 1,203 runs as Sleaford won the title last year but Nel has started the season as he means to go on and would love to break his record.
He added: “I have been in the league for a while but I can’t really remember making a good start so it was great that things went well on Saturday.
“In recent years maybe I had lost a bit of the fire I had when I was younger but I have been working hard in the nets and hopefully I can build on this.”
Nel is delighted to have been joined at the club by three talented Sri Lankans who all made their competitive debuts for the club on Saturday.
Thivanka Rajaratne, Wamanga Perera and Nuwan Jayasena were all among the wickets and Nel has been impressed by what he has seen so far.
He added: “The thing I like is that, like me, they are all in their thirties so they bring plenty of experience to the team.
“We went on a pre-season tour in Nottingham and the three Sri Lankans are all nice lads who fitted in straight away and they have a lot of ability.
“I am aiming for a top six finish this season because we have a good team and we are now in our second season at this level so we know what it’s about.”
Skipper Rob Ambrose felt the draw was a fair result. He said: “Warren batted really well and I expect him to score plenty of runs again and Josh Newton hit a half-century so we have plenty to be pleased about.
“The Sri Lankans made steady starts and I am sure they will get even better.
“Nuwan went for a few runs early on but then improved and Wamanga bowled really well in the last few overs.
“Charlie Kearns and Jack Barratt also bowled well so it was a good start.”
Indian Mehul Adatia took four wickets for Market Deeping, who also batted solidly.
Chris Jones and Jamie Morgan produced an opening stand of 99 but both fell before another run was added.
Market Deeping skipper Dave Gillett said: “It wasn’t a bad start although it was a bit disappoining not to get the win.
Alex Wheatley hit an unbeaten 65 with Tom Andrew and Lee Peacock giving able support but Market Deeping ran out of overs just 14 runs shy of their target.
“It wasnt a bad wicket so there were plenty of runs but I think losing both of our openers in the space of two balls was pivotal.”
Spalding 2nd were involved in a high-scoring game in the South Lincolnshire and Border League with 577 runs scored for the loss of only six wickets.
Heckington reached 301 and Spalding fell just 26 short of their target with Simon Juckes (85), Jim Clarke (57) and Hussain (57) all hitting half-centuries.