The cricket season is almost upon us. On May 4, each of our local sides will be embarking on what hopefully will be a successful league season - the first of the newly formed Sussex Cricket League - the world’s largest. Here captain’s of each side has profiled their team with details of their side’s and ambitions for the season.
We start our preview with Division 2.
Team: Haywards Heath
Captain: Callum Smith
Overseas: Benjamin Van Rensburg, a South African bowling all rounder
Player to watch: Young all-rounder Ben Matthew
Ambitions for the Season: To be in the race for promotion
Who are the team and player to watch in your division: Burgess Hill could surprise some people and St James’ are always strong in the second half of the season. There’s some quality overseas being signed so they could be key.
What do you think of the new league structure: No change for our 1st team and our 2nd XI will now play 40 overs limited overs games all season which is a shame to not play the traditional win, lose or draw format. However, it’s great to have our 3rd XI back playing competitive league cricket in the central league.
Team: Burgess Hill CC
Captain: Joe Maskell
Overseas: Kevin Ramsey
Player to watch: Jack Simpson
Ambitions for the season: Finish in the top five
Who are the team and player to watch in your division: Haywards Heath and Jonny Phelps
What do you think of the new league structure: We believe the new league structure is really good. The games won’t be as long for a lot of teams meaning players will be more interested in playing.
Team: Lindfield CC
Division: Division 2
Captain: Simon Shivnarain
Overseas: Apoorv Wankhade batsman from Ranji Trophy champions Vidarbha, and formerly of the Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders
Players to watch: Within our 1st XI squad we have four players representing Sussex. Tom Hinley, Dom Morgan, Toby Sheperson and Charlie Weir are working in the Sussex Emerging Players Programme, and we are expecting big things from them this year.
This group of youngsters make up the heart of a young Lindfield team and are supported by some new faces such as left-arm quick, Anders Wilson and, of course, Apoorv Wankhade.
Ambition: Promotion! The arrival of Wankhade is a step change for Lindfield and as well as providing a weight of runs, he will hopefully inspire the youngsters to understand what is required to be successful. Those youngsters are a year older, a year stronger and in theory a year more cricket smart! We’ll see….
Who are the team and player to watch out for in your division: It’s great to reacquaint ourselves with the old foe Burgess Hill this season.
They had a great year last term and we look forward to locking horns with them again in 2019. It will be interesting to see how their opening bowler Dan Strange gets on in a higher league after the barnstorming 2018 he had. Haywards Heath have recruited well, and we will look out for them. But the Hillians have always been the bigger scalp!
What do you think of the new structure: Lindfield was one of the main clubs in driving the new structure forward, and while it’s not perfect, it is a vast improvement on what we had.
The new league will allow clubs to find their level, and move up and down the divisions within a geographical area, rather than having to travel ludicrous distances across the county. However, we will be championing improvements in the future, as in our view more needs to be done at the lower end of the structure to ease the pathway from Academy cricket to the senior game.
That said, perhaps a more worrying aspect is the increase in player movement between clubs, particularly for financial gain, although that is a whole new debate.