New Sussex Cricket League season set to get underway

New Goring captain Ben Cartwright
New Goring captain Ben Cartwright
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THE Sussex Cricket League season gets underway for 2012 on Saturday, with Worthing and Findon set to battle it out in a new division this year.

Worthing were promoted into the Premier Division after winning Division 2 last year and Findon will be in Division 2 after lifting the Division 3 West title last season.

Goring will be hoping for more of the same after their impressive campaign in Division 2 last year, while Arundel, who were reprieved from relegation, Littlehampton and Steyning will all be battling it out in Division 3 West.

Here all the side’s aims for the upcoming season.

PREMIER DIVISION

Worthing

Captain: Michael Gould – aims: “We’re a little unprepared going into the season as both of our pre-season games were postponed but we’ll hope to do some outdoor nets this week.

“We’ll be without John Kaye and Dominic Clapp for most of the season, which is a shame as they’re both massive players.

“But we’ve brought in Ian Gooding and John Glover, who’s in the Sussex Academy-Plus, where he plays second-team cricket.

“It’s nice to attract a player like John but we’ll just be looking to finish mid-table this year as we’re not going to set our sights ridiculously high.

“We won’t be getting a overseas player as we’d rather go down the route of using young local players.

“We’ve got a great colts set-up, with some great coaches, and we’ll have some strong players coming through in the next couple of years.”

DIVISION 2

Findon

Captain: Barry Meaney – aims: “This is my third year as captain – we were down near the bottom in the first year and won the title last year, so I’d be happy with something in the middle this year.

“Going up into a new division, we’ll just look to stabilise ourselves.

“It’s not impossible to go up and do well – like Goring did last year – but teams have also come up into this division and gone down straight away, so, we’ll look to consolidate and go from there.

“We’ve got the same squad of players as last year and it’s an exciting challenge and I’m sure we’re capable of doing well.

“We’re going to be playing at new grounds on new pitches and we need to make sure we start well and adapt to whatever is put in front of us.”

Goring

Captain: Ben Cartwright – aims: “It’s our second year in this division so we’ll just look to consolidate and build on what was an unbelievable year last year.

“Last season, we were the first team to stay up in Division 2 after coming up from Division 3 West and we’re looking forward to the new season.

“We’ve got the same group of players as last year apart from Brad Page, a quick right-arm opening bowler from Australia, who is our new overseas player.”

DIVISION 3 WEST

Arundel

Captain: Ally James – aims: “We’ve been training two days a week and have got a new overseas player in, so, fingers crossed, we’ll be around mid-table and looking upwards but we’ll just see how things go.”

Australian Josh Manton is the club’s new overseas player. He is an opening batsman, who bowls spin.

Littlehampton

Captain: Dan Rive – aims: “The same as last year – we’ll look to finish in a comfortable position as all the youngsters, like Michael Askew, Tom Lee and Ryan Budd, are a year older.

“We need to perform how we did in the last first half of last season as we ended up staying up just by the skin of our teeth.

“We’ve got Arundel away on Saturday for our first game and we’ve lost quite badly there the last couple of times we’ve played there so, hopefully, we can hit the ground running this season.”

Steyning

Captain: Ed Lamb – aims: “The aim is to be up there pushing for promotion.

“We had a poor middle of the season last year so were out of contention and took our foot off the pedal towards the end of the season.

“It gave us the chance to blood a few youngsters, though.

“Hywel Jones was the top run scorer in the division last year so, hopefully, he can do similar again and we’ve got a new overseas player in Matheesha Ranasinghe, who has played first-class cricket in Sri Lanka, where he’s a medium-pace bowler.

“He’s been to England before and done very well and should be a good addition for us as we’ve had trouble bowling teams out and getting the last wicket.

“We’re without Sam Grant, who came through brilliantly last year, for the first third of the season owing to Brighton College commitments. But when he’s back, he should form a good opening bowling attack with Matheesha.

“We need to get Steyning up a level, so the youngsters and promising colts that we’ve got here don’t move on to clubs in higher divisions.”