Town re­group af­ter play­ers move on

Cricket

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

ASH­FORD Town are ready for the start of the Shep­herd Neame Kent League sea­son with a Di­vi­sion 1 trip to Sibton Park on Satur­day.

Chair­man Neil Tegg re­mains bullish about the prospects at Sta­cians Park de­spite the club los­ing sev­eral play­ers over the win­ter.

Matt Lin­coln, Stu­art Paine and Shan­non Fat­tore have all moved to St Lawrence, while Jamie Wat­son and Andy Mau­rice have joined Hythe

Mr Tegg said: “Our team spirit will see us through and we are not down­hearted de­spite los­ing sev­eral play­ers. We have enough to hold our own in the league.”

Aus­tralian wick­et­keeper-bats­man Kyle McAlis­ter has joined from Mer­sham. Top or­der bats­man Simon Tay­lor misses the first game be­cause of fam­ily com­mit­ments.

Liam Tegg, the chair­man’s son, is the new cap­tain of the Satur­day and Sun­day 1st XIs, while Lee Eal­ham skip­pers the Satur­day 2nds for the first time.

Changes have also be made on the Ash­ford Town com­mit­tee and the play­ers are join­ing forces to help with pitch prepa­ra­tion and ground main­te­nance dur­ing the sea­son.

Aus­tralian all-rounder Lochan Blun­den makes his Kent League de­but for Hythe in their open­ing Di­vi­sion 1 game of the sea­son against Whit­stable at The Grove on Satur­day.

The Ade­laide young­ster re­places fel­low coun­try­man Ben Dwyer who is not re­turn­ing for a third sea­son at The Grove.

Dwyer took 37 wick­ets last sea­son, tak­ing Hythe to the brink of pro­mo­tion, only to be pipped on the fi­nal day of last sea­son by The Mote.

An­other Aussie, Josh Con­nelly, has been re­cruited as the 2nd XI over­seas player and made 28 and took 2-54 in the two-wicket de­feat by Bob­bing Court on Satur­day.

Wat­son is a for­mer Kent League win­ner with Brom­ley, while other new faces are all-rounder Matt Ec­cles and Mau­rice’s brother, Chris, who joins from Gravesend.

For­mer Ch­est­field pair Dan Patch­ing and Jago Pearson start their sec­ond sea­son with the club, with both set for a busy work­load dur­ing the sea­son.

Off-spin­ner Pearson, who picked up 21 wick­ets last year at 22 apiece, fin­ish­ing 12th in the av­er­ages, said: “Our first three matches are prob­a­bly against the three strong­est teams – Whit­stable, Black­heath and Beck­en­ham – and we will need to be at our best to beat them.

“Los­ing Ben only means that the rest of us will need to step up but we are ca­pa­ble of do­ing that.”

Ten­ter­den warmed up for the new Di­vi­sion 2 sea­son with a nine-wicket win over Lin­den Park at Morghew Park on Satur­day.

J. Rand (5-27) and M. Baker (3-5) helped dis­miss Park for only 92 and then open­ers Tim Curteis (45 not out), and Andy Craw­ford (24) put on 73 for the first wicket, as Ten­ter­den needed less than 15 overs to reach their tar­get.

Ten­ter­den, rel­e­gated last year, be­gin at home to Hayes on Satur­day.

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