Spalding Cricket Club have brought in three Sri Lankan players as they look to build on last season’s first campaign in the Lincs ECB Premier League
Nuwan Jayasena, Wimanga Perera and Mahesh Rajaratne are UK-based Sri Lankans who all live near Bedford and played for Clacton in the East Anglia Premier League last year.
Rajaradne, an off-spinner and top order batsman, should add plenty of runs to a batting order already boasting the useful talents of South African Warren Nel.
Skipper Rob Ambrose expects a difficult start as Spalding host Market Deeping in Sunday’s opener and then take on champions Sleaford.
Ambrose said: “We’re under no illusions. It’s a difficult league with a lot of good sides and a lot of good players.
“I will be happy if we finish one place better than last year as our ambition is to stay in the Premier Division.
“The Sri Lankans should make us stronger but we are also looking for the local lads to do well.
“Charlie Kearns bowled well last year and we expect more of the same.”
Market Deeping, who finished fifth last year, should again do well.
Captain Dave Gillett is delighted his club have brought in talented Suffolk wicket-keeper Dave Sargent who will also bolster the club’s batting line-up.
Having lost Josh Bowers to Wisbech two years ago, Deeping brought in talented teenager Ben Willemsen to keep wicket last year but he has now returned to New Zealand so the capture of Sargent gives the club a timely boost.
Gillett expects him to be among the best in the division while Tom Andrew will be available more often this season.
The likes of 15-year-olds Richard Brown and Sam Malton are pushing for promotion from the second team so Gillett is in optimistic mood.
He said: “We were finding our feet last year and, while we can’t compete financially with some of the other clubs, I expect us to do well.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s opener, Gillett added: “Spalding will certainly be a different proposition to what we expected a few weeks ago.
“Having signed three Sri Lankans they will now be a bit of an unknown quantity.”
Newly-promoted Billingborough, who begin with a home match against Bourne, will be well worth watching this year. They have brought in former Lincolnshire, Middlesex and Surrey seamer Jonathan Miles and Australian Nathan Mill.
Bourne have brought in West Indian Neval Grazette as their overseas signing. He previously impressed for both Grantham and Boston and club stalwart Dave Christmas has high hopes of him.
He joked: “We’re looking for him to bowl fast and whack it out the ground!
“We’ve seen him before playing for Grantham when he was a student there and he will be a useful addition.
“Neval is a useful all-rounder who will give the club a boost after a disappointing season last year.
“We underperformed last year but we know we can play much better than that.”