The square has been mown but save some reinstatement of the 'tyre trenches' just off the main playing area, the outfield remains untouched since Christmas hospitality marquees were removed. The recent dramatic change in temperatures has led to the outfield becoming bare and badly rutted in parts and long elsewhere.
This is the latest state of 'play' at Stoneham Lane, where Trojans are scheduled to entertain Sparsholt in the opening match of the Southern Premier League Division 2 season on May 5 2018, ie 15 days time.
The square has been mown but save some reinstatement of the 'tyre trenches' just off the main playing area, the outfield remains untouched since Christmas hospitality marquees were removed. The recent dramatic change in temperatures has led to the outfield becoming bare and badly rutted in parts and long elsewhere.
Sad news: Kevin Poulter, the well known and much liked Hook & Newnham Basics and Hampshie Over-50s left-arm bowler, has died after a massively brave battle against cancer. A full tribute will appear here shortly.
The England and Wales Cricket Board wants to introduce an innovative '100 balls' format into its new eight-team, city-based tournament.
The concept could see innings consist of 15 traditional six-ball overs, and a final 10-ball over.
That would be 20 balls shorter than traditional T20 matches.
Those devising the competition believe a 100-ball 'countdown' would attract new audiences and be popular with broadcasters.
The proposed approach was presented by the ECB to the chairmen and chief executives of the first-class counties and MCC on Thursday.
ECB's chief executive officer Tom Harrison said: "This is a fresh and exciting idea which will appeal to a younger audience and attract new fans to the game."
The new competition's board unanimously supports the development of the 100-ball concept.
Southampton, Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester, Cardiff and Nottingham have been selected as venues for the five-week competition, which starts in 2020.
Both Lord's and The Oval will host newly created teams in the competition with the Ageas Bowl, Edgbaston, Headingley, Old Trafford, the Swalec Stadium and Trent Bridge the other grounds chosen.
The BBC will broadcast live TV coverage of the new men's and women's domestic tournament each summer from 2020 to 2024.
The new competition will take place alongside the existing T20 Blast which is expected to be unaffected by the proposed format changes.
The ECB believes the concept will help to appeal to families and a more diverse and younger audience, and provide some distinction from the T20 Blast.
It will feature aligned competitions for both men's and women's teams, with the same format and team identities.
The 100-ball concept will now be further developed but it has been welcomed by the broadcasters and player representatives - both men and women - that have been consulted.
A shake-up for cricket?
The move would be one of the biggest shake-ups to the game since the introduction of the Twenty20 Cup in 2003, the first professional 20-over competition.
Six-ball overs have been standard in cricket since 1979-80, before which overs had consisted of four, five, six or eight balls at various times.
When the new city-based competition was announced last year, the ECB said it marked "an exciting new era" for cricket in England and Wales and could help the sport be "relevant to a whole new audience".
The ECB's aim is for the competition to compete with the world's biggest T20 tournaments, the Indian Premier League and Australian Big Bash.
Eleven England internationals are currently taking part in this year's IPL, rather than the English County Championship which began last week.
Players can earn huge sums of money in the IPL with England's Ben Stokes sold for a record £1.7m last year.
Last year's event saw television viewership of over 1.25bn in the host country alone, while broadcaster Star India paid £1.97bn in September for global TV and digital rights in a five-year deal.
How will city-based tournament work?
◾Eight new teams playing 36 games over a 38-day summer window, with four home games per team
◾No scheduling overlap with the existing T20 Blast competition
◾An Indian Premier League-style play-off system to give more incentive for finishing higher up the league
◾A players' draft, with squads of 15 including three overseas players
◾Counties guaranteed at least £1.3m each per year
Local cricketers, freezing in the snow little more than a month ago, could experience temperatures in the mid-Seventies on Saturday when the curtain goes up on the season with a selection of warm-up matches.
Promoted Basingstoke give former Hook & Newnham Basics skipper and all-rounder Ben Thane (left, Dave Vokes) a debut at Sunbury, alongside promising teenage East Woodhay wicket-keeper Toby Albert.
Basingstoke & North Hants: Stokes, Albert, Thane, Taylor, C Coombs, Birch, Griffiths, Jolley, Benge, Thankachan, Connor.
Basingstoke IIs: Chandler, Harris, Parera, Froud, Oates, Vinn, Mathew, Finchen, Nurse, J Coombs, J Belcher
The Hampshire Hogs’ picturesque ground at Warnford is the venue for the Hampshire Academy-Waterlooville match (12.30), while Bashley (Rydal) and Havant have warm up games ahead of Sunday’s opening ECB Royal London national club championship first round ties (see separate story).
Saturday’s fixtures include: Bashley (Rydal) II v Calmore Sports, Bournemouth v Lymington, Fareham & Crofton v Purbrook (noon), Hampshire Academy v Waterlooville (Warnford, 12.30), Havant v Portsmouth, South Wilts v St Cross Symondians, Sunbury v Basingstoke & North Hants, Totton & Eling v Bashley (Rydal).
Ed Denham has returned to his Bournemouth cricketing roots after six successful summers playing in the Birmingham & District Premier League.
The 27-year old all-rounder is expected to be a major player in Bournemouth’s bid for Southern Premier League honours this season.
A key member of the Bournemouth colts team which was crowned ECB national Under-15 champions in 2005, Denham took 269 wickets and scored over 2,350 runs in his spell in Birmingham cricket.
Leaving Bournemouth in 2011, he joined Wombourne before switching to Walsall, whom he helped win a recent BPL Division 1 title.
Denham celebrated 11 separate five-wicket hauls in his time in the Midlands, taking 8-35 against Moseley and 7-52 versus West Bromwich Dartmouth.
The former Dorset cricketer has also developed into a very tidy middle-order batsman, scoring two league centuries and 11 scores of 50 or more in the BPL.
Bournemouth, who have also snapped up Herefordshire Minor Counties pace bowler Dan Conway, begin their pre-season programme with home matches against Lymington (Saturday) and Bournemouth University (Sunday) this weekend.
They launch their SPL1 tilt against relegated Andover at Chapel gate on May 5.
Ben Wish will once again be leading Rowledge this summer, as the Hampshire/Surrey border club looks to make amends for last season’s relegation.
Competing in Southern Premier League Division 2, the side will be looking to change their fortunes and turn a number of narrow losses last year into victories.
The squad is again likely to be dominated by youth, but the returns of experienced seamer Richard Forbes and middle-order batsman Sam Moseley from injury are seen as positives.
Teenager Fraser Wilson from Sydney, will be the side's overseas player and he will be looking to score runs having just arrived from Gordon District Grade Club, where Hampshire & England leg-spinner Mason Crane wintered in 2016/17.
“We have lost Tom Gleave and the experience and outstanding service of Ian Metcalfe for the season, so it will be up to younger lads with SPL experience like Joe Randall, spinner George Keeley and left-arm seamer Jake Wish to step up to the plate and ease the transition,” Ben Wish said.
“It will also be a season for Ollie Baker, Max Martin and 15 year old Will Ryman to make an impression in and around the first team squad.”
Jake Wish could miss the early matches due to university commitments, but top order batsman Nick Morant, and all-rounders Steve Martin and David Lloyd will provide the experience in the side for Wish, who will one again don the wicket-keeping gloves.
South Wilts have beefed up their pace bowling attack for the upcoming season by signing Ealing’s Arthur Godsal, a first year student at Southampton Solent University, who played for England Under-19s in India last winter.
The 20-year old could make his competitive debut in Sunday’s scheduled ECB Royal London Cup tie against Goatacre.
Godsal played regularly for Middlesex 2nd XI last season, having come through the club’s academy system, which he joined at 11 years of age.
“He swings the ball away and was quick all through the age groups,” said Middlesex head coach Richard Scott.
“Typically, he stopped growing in his late teens and everybody else caught him up. He had a knee injury and subsequent surgery last season, hence we didn’t sign him.”
Godsal, who made his Second XI Championship debut for Middlesex as a 15-year old in July 2013, made his England Under-19 Test debut in Nagpur and ODI debut in Mumbai.
“Arthur is easing back to full fitness, half pace bowling at the moment and, when the grass dries up, we might be able to get him off a full run up soon,” explained South Wilts skipper James Hibberd.
“He’s a handy bat as well and will be a very useful asset.”
South Wilts plan to play St Cross Symondians in a pre-season warm-up match at Bemerton on Saturday.
Many sportsmen, particularly former county, club cricketers and past colleagues, were unable to say farewell to Old Tauntonians ‘giant’, the late Tony Baker, Hampshire’s former chief executive, following his death, aged 77, this past winter.
We are now pleased to provide can now provide a link to the audio of Tony’s service - https://youtu.be/Rxu-le1-2Bw - held at the Basingstoke Crematorium on 10 November 2017, on which you will hear the Canon, Tony’s eldest son Paul and Tim Tremlett, all in fine form reflecting on Mr Baker’s life, particularly his enormous contribution to cricket in the region, both on and off the field.
“His eulogy was one of the most important things that I've ever done, and I had to try and make it amusing and affectionate,” Paul Baker reflected.
“May I suggest that anyone who would like to have a listen does so with a glass of the good stuff in tow, and raises a glass to dad, he'd like that !”
Paul and Johnny Baker are both running the Southampton Half-Marathon this weekend to raise funds for (and awareness of) Parkinson’s Disease, which took Tony’s life. If you feel able to contribute to such a worthwhile cause, please feel free to donate to www.justgiving.com/tonybakerhampshire
For somebody who has yet to make a championship appearance, Bashley-Rydal’s Tom Barber carries quite a reputation.
He fractured the thumb of England’s white-ball captain Eoin Morgan in Middlesex training two weeks ago and recently broke Stuart Meaker’s record for the fastest delivery in testing at the national performance centre at Loughborough, writes Simon Wilde of the Sunday Times..
When Daniel Vettori, the county’s Twenty20 coach, watched him play for the second XI at Uxbridge last summer, he rated him as being as gifted a left-arm speedster as Mitchell Starc at the same age, and in last month’s North-South series in Barbados, watched by Andrew Strauss, he had batsmen ducking for cover.
He could be London’s most dangerous Barber since Sweeney Todd.
Given Middlesex’s intention to rotate their deep pace-bowling resources, with Barber and Steven Finn sitting out the opening game against Northants, Kevin Shine, the ECB’s lead fast bowling coach, says he would be happy for Barber, 22, to play six to eight championship matches this summer, but it will be interesting to see how he fares in white-ball cricket, where there is such a premium on wicket-taking bowlers at the top of the innings.
Amid talk about a new generation having less interest in the long-form game and seven England fast bowlers being at the IPL rather than playing four-day cricket with their counties, Barber says he wants to represent Middlesex and England in all formats.
“Yes, for Twenty20s, you practise yorkers and slower balls, and in the championship it’s about line and length and hitting the top of off stump, but if the ball’s coming out at pace and swinging back in, that’s what you want, whether you’re playing championship or opening the bowling in T20s,” he says.
Barber has two assets that will interest England’s new selection panel over the coming months and years: one is his pace, the other his angle of attack.
The sterility of four right-arm seamers of similar pace operating together as they did in the Auckland Test cannot be repeated, and if George Garton of Sussex is likeliest to become the first left-arm fast bowler to appear in a Test for England since Ryan Sidebottom in 2010, Barber may not be far behind.
Barber has long possessed the knack of propelling a cricket ball at high speed but his ambition was spurred by the sight of England being blown away by Mitchell Johnson in Australia five years ago.
“That was a series where I thought, ‘I want to do that. I want to be that guy who runs in and really intimidates batsmen’. Mitchell Starc is the left-armer I look to most now.
He’s a similar sort of bowler to me in that he’s tall, bowls high pace and swings the ball back in. He’s the one I want to emulate.”
Barber, who is 6ft 3in, did not get here without a struggle. Born and raised in Dorset, he started as a professional at Hampshire but it didn’t work out and he was recommended to Middlesex by Paul Prichard, Dorset’s head coach. Richard
Johnson, their bowling coach, agreed to spend the winter of 2016-17 working with him on an action in need of refinement.
The challenge was to ensure he used all the power he had — using his front side more, being balanced at the crease and bowling as quickly as he could while retaining control. “I’d got into some bad habits and was just using a quick arm,”
Barber said. “It was difficult at first. Now, I’m seeing the effects. I’m a different bowler. I didn’t know which way the ball was going. Now, I know I can swing it in, push it away, and set up a batsman.”
A few weeks after Vettori watched him at Uxbridge, Barber made his Middlesex Twenty20 debut — against Hampshire — in front of 22,000 spectators at Lord’s.
He took one wicket, got the speed gun up to 92mph and cracked Rilee Rossouw on the head. The
speed he recorded at Loughborough was 90.6mph on a system different from the ones used by TV companies and reckoned to be about 4mph slower.
As championship cricket vies with Twenty20 for the attentions of the modern cricketer, it is likely to be fast bowlers who are most conflicted. Why bowl 20 overs a day in one when you can earn more bowling four in the other?
Alan Richardson, who commands at Worcestershire a strong group of fast bowlers, including the promising Josh Tongue and George Scrimshaw, reckons one of the main issues is that limiting age-group cricketers to five-over spells means educating them about how to construct two or three longer spells a day is something
that has to be taught much later, by which time the urge to pack a variety of tricks into four or five overs is already ingrained. “We have to instil patience,” he said.
On the plus-side, white-ball variations can be introduced selectively to the longer formats and could help
future England teams win Tests away from home. Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood, who like Barber shone in the North-South series, is among those who could take this route to the top.
Article reproduced by kind permission of the Sunday Times.
Opening batsman Rob Gibson has followed his captain Ben Walker out of the Havant exit door, though their respective departures from the double ECB Southern Premier League champions are totally unconnected.
Whereas Walker has decided to drop down two tiers and play for Totton & Eling, 24-year old and now city-based Gibson has joined Middlesex Premier League club Richmond.
Gibson, who cut his teeth locally with Hambledon, explained: “I have absolutely loved my time playing for Havant, but unfortunately the practicalities of having to travel down every weekend, combined with the inability to train during the week, has meant that joining a London club was a much more sensible option.”
He will be joined at Old Deer Park by his Durham University team-mate and Basingstoke & North Hants all-rounder Will Phillips, who also works in the City.
Gibson, whose availability for Havant in recent seasons has been affected by university commitments, enjoyed his best season for the SPL champions in 2013 when his 689-run tally included two centuries.
Team-mate Chris Morgan has scotched rumours that he is joining the Havant Park exit party.
He said: “I will very much be donning the maroon cap this year and, given everything, more motivated to win games of cricket than I have been in a long time!”
Bashley (Rydal) face an on-going battle against the elements to get their award winning BCG ground fit for next Sunday's ECB Royal London Cup first round home tie against Portsmouth. The ground was flooded again by a recent downpour, leaving the club's volunteer ground-staff just seven days to get things ready. Once the surface water has soaked away they plan to start rolling in next week's forecasted sunshine. Bashley have won the Southern Premier League's Ground of the Year award for the past two seasons.
Sparsholt's Norman Edwards Ground off Lock's Lane is looking trim and healthy once again. The club won the Southern Premier League's Most Improved Ground award in 2017, due to the hard work and endeavours of groundsman Dave Banks and his team of volunteers. Like the majority of clubs, Sparsholt have been battling against the elements for the past five months, but the ground is looking in good shape.
The curtain goes up on the new Southern Premier League season in three weekend’s time – but it’s looking increasingly unlikely Trojans’ scheduled Division 2 opener against Sparsholt will go ahead, certainly at Stoneham Lane.
Three months and more have now elapsed since the lucrative Christmas hospitality marquee was taken away from the site, leaving the already unkempt outfield scarred with deep tyre tracks and unusable for any sport.
It is now mid-April but little, if any, work to repair the outfield (it is likely to need significant expenditure) appears to have taken place.
Trojans Club chairman Campbell Williams explains: “As you'll be aware, it's been very wet and cold since about November. The Trojans outfield is used during winter, this time part of it with the marquee, but also for rugby.
“The Southern League visit in mid-March was cancelled due to snow.
“We are doing what we can, and plan to have the pitch ready with significant investment to achieve this in machinery and materials, but needs to stop raining to allow work to commence.
“So, no different from other clubs, or previous years, except this year we have more investment scheduled.”
Trojans are already on an official warning from the Southern Premier League following poor outfield marks in past seasons.
It’s three weeks until stumps are pitched. The clock is ticking but time is not on Trojans’ side …
Local cricket’s prayers have been answered by next week’s long overdue and favourable weather forecast.
Unbroken sunshine and temperatures in the low 20s cel are forecast for next week, giving saturated cricket grounds a chance to dry out and, fingers crossed, get some pre-season matches under way over the weekend April 21/22, Sunday being the date of the opening round of the ECB Royal London national club championships
Relegated Hambledon have bolstered their pace bowling armoury by signing 22-year old Sam Beagley as their overseas player for the upcoming Southern Premier League Division 3 season, which begins against Fair Oak on May 5.
Beagley hails from Norwood CC, who play in the Ringwood District League in East Melbourne. Opening batsman Will Bond will again skipper the Dons this season.
Ben Walker has dropped a pre-season bombshell by quitting Havant, the club whose run scoring prowess helped his club with back to back ECB Southern Premier League championships.
Instead, he has decided to drop down two divisions on the SPL pyramid and join Totton & Eling, where he originally cut his teeth as a teenage all-rounder.
Walker, 29, has won the Premier Division batting prize for the past two seasons and during his time at Havant scored 5,608 runs, including seven hundreds and made 50 or more 38 times.
Prior to a troublesome knee effectively ending his bowling career, Walker took 154 Premier Division wickets for Havant, helping the club win six titles, the past two of which he captained.
“It’s a decision I’ve not taken lightly,” he explained.
“My life situation has changed drastically and for the better. I’m now living with my girlfriend in Southampton, so location-wise Totton is the closest club.
“I’ve played at Totton years ago and I feel there is unfinished business for me there, where I have a opportunity there to make a difference and help their youngsters become better players.
“I’m also lucky enough to be representing Dorset in Minor Counties cricket this summer, which will be a great experience and a stern challenge for me.
“To work along side Dorset coach Paul Pritchard (ex-Essex captain) is brilliant for me personally.”
Walker says he will look back on his time at Havant with real fondness.
“My time spent at Havant, the best club around in my opinion at the moment, has been amazing.
“They supported me through the rough times when league bans and issues occurred and gave me the honour of captaining the club to two Premier Division championships and T20 successes.
“I wish the club all the success moving forward and hope they continue to dominate in all competitions.
“The lads at Havant are my best friends and they will continue to be them.
“Joining Totton & Eling is a new challenge that’s exciting.”
Walker expects to make his competitive debut for Totton & Eling against newly promoted Waterlooville in Southern Premier League Division 2 at Southern Gardens on May 5.
Tony Field has been preparing pitches at Rowledge for over 20 years - but he's never seen the Southern Premier League Division 2 ground on the Hampshire/Surrey county boundary so wet. Tony, a sprightly 72 and a member of the Rowledge team that played in the 1985 National Village Championship final at Lord's, is pictured ploughing on, trying to clear the surface water off the outfield.
Hampshire Cricket have announced several newcomers in the Club’s new Academy intake ahead of the forthcoming ECB Southern Premier League season.
Waterlooville’s Sonny Reynolds and all-rounder Tom South are the youngest of those to join the programme, alongside fellow U16s George Metzger (Basingstoke & North Hants), Poole’s Scott Currie, Fletcha Middleton, and U17 recruit Ben Huntley, from South Wilts.
The more senior group of Felix Organ, Tom Scriven, Chris Searle, Rory Hipwell, George Pardoe, Miles Kantolinna and Zac Organ return once again this season, after featuring for the side throughout the 2017 campaign.
Head of Player Development, Charlie Freeston said: “We’re pleased to bring a number of exciting young prospects into our Academy set-up for the coming season and they join a group of quality cricketers in Rory, George, Miles and Zac, who were all involved last year.
“They’ve all worked hard during this winter, including on our excellent February trip to Durban, and we’re looking forward to what we hope will be another positive season for us.”
The Academy's first set of fixtures see them take on Waterlooville in a pre-season warm-up at the Hampshire Hogs, before the Premier League programme begins at St. Cross Symondians, and follows with matches against Lymington, Basingstoke & North Hants, and Burridge during the opening weeks of the season.
The Hampshire Academy finished eighth in last year's Premier League, claiming five victories
Bournemouth didn't need to call in a panel umpire to cancel this week's scheduled opening net practice session at Chapel Gate. "We simply didn't have enough pairs of gum boots to go around, so we thought it best to call the session off," explained skipper Chris Park, who took his squad for a water-polo game instead.
Ventnor have called time on their stay at the Isle of Wight's Newclose County Ground and will return to their Steephill home for this season's Southern Premier and Hampshire League home matches.
They moved to Newclose eight seasons ago in 2010, eventually putting accreditation issues aside and celebrating promotion after five successive Division 1 titles, but relegation in 2016 began to sew seeds of doubt how long Ventnor would remain there. The cost of the hire of Newclose, loss of bar takings and a desire return to their spiritual home where many of the players had grown up led to the island club deciding to ‘come home’ to its unique bowl in 2018.
Under the captaincy of Chris Russell, who played his embryo cricket at Ventnor before joining Worcestershire, the club will launch its SPL1 programme at home champions Calmore Sports on May 5 and then host Portsmouth a week later.
Players sporting beards could find themselves unable to play Southern Premier League cricket this summer if a lucrative sponsorship deal with a prominent shaving foam company goes ahead.
The SPL has been without a backer since a two-year deal with British Gas ended last season.
But it is believed that Close Shave, a global razor and shaving supplier, are keen to sponsor the Premier - on the strict understanding all the players provide a clean cut image when they take the field every Saturday afternoon.
"We want everyone turning up freshly shaved. No beards, no stubble, and certainly not looking as though they've just got out of bed or been out until the early hours," said a Close Shave marketing spokesman.
"We'd want our shaving products in every household bathroom and being used by all the cricketers, so they turn up at matches giving the right impression as fit, razor sharp ready for the action.
"Obviously special dispensations will apply where beards are worn on religious grounds, but we’d need players to supply written proof from the vicar at their local church before this concession can be agreed."
Concern was also expressed that the surface of cricket balls could be affected if wiped against bearded or stubbled faces. The SPL is anxious to avoid any repetition of recent incidents in Cape Town.
The 'no beards' rule is bound to create a reaction from several Premier Division captains, with Havant double title winner Ben Walker, St Cross Symondians' skipper Tom Foyle and Lymington's Simon Beetham among those who will be twitching their whiskers in the lead up to the start of the new season on May 5.
Among the other prominent local cricketers set to be foaming at the chin at this news are Bashley (Rydal) spin all-rounder Sam Thomson [pictured], Lymington' award winning pace bowler Matt Metcalfe, Basingstoke & North Hants new boy Ben Thane, and Chris Russell, who has taken over the Ventnor captaincy.
Southampton Solent's student cricketers are bracing themselves for a demanding northern launch to their British Universities Premier Division campaign in late April.
They face back-to-back away matches against Durham and Leeds & Bradford on April 23 and 24 before heading south for a run of four successive matches at Totton & Eling in May, when Loughborough, Cambridge, Cardiff and Oxford will play at Southern Gardens. Solent's last league match is against Bristol at Coombe Dingle.
Bournemouth University's opening game in Premier South is against Cardiff at Chapel Gate. They then visit Oxford, host Exeter and Canterbury before taking on Cardiff Met and finally Portsmouth.
Southampton University field two sides in West Division 1A, where Aberystwyth, Bath, Exeter II and Swansea provide the opposition.
Bashley (Rydal) have made a double swoop, beefing up their squad for the upcoming ECB Southern Premier League campaign by signing two of Bournemouth University’s leading cricketers.
Second year student Tim Taylor (pictured), a top order batsman from the ECB Leicestershire & Rutland Premier League club Barrow Town, will be available for Bashley all season.
University team-mate and seam bowler Dan Goodey plans to play for Bashley for the first half of the summer before returning to his native Plymouth once his BU term ends.
Taylor, 24 who is studying for an MA in Radio Production degree, has scored over 1,000 runs for Barrow Town in the past three Leicestershire Premier League seasons and captained his home town club last year.
Goodey made his Minor Counties Championship debut for Devon against Wiltshire last summer, having previously taken 20 Devon Premier League wickets for Plymouth.
He is studying for a BSc Sport Psychology & Coaching Sciences degree.
Bashley (Rydal) captain Michael Porter, who has led the New Forest club to both the 50-over and Time cricket pennants in the Southern Premier League in the past two seasons, reports that, New Milton-bound Jake Lilley apart, no one has left the BCG.
“We won’t be replacing South Australia’s Patrick Page (684 runs in 2017) with another overseas player, so the opportunity will be there for others to step up to the plate,” Porter said.
Pre-season training under new coach Steve Wilson is attracting good attendances at Ballard School on Thursday evenings.
But any prospects of Bashley making a prompt start to cricket outdoors – they are due to play Parley on April 14 – look set to be hit by the wet weather.
“The BCG is so wet we’ve not been able to get on it yet. We desperately need a period of sustained dry weather,” explained Bashley chairman John Neal.
Bashley’s BCG has been voted the Southern Premier League’s top ground for the past two seasons.
BOURNEMOUTH have pulled off a huge coup in snapping up Herefordshire bowler Dan Conway for the upcoming Southern Premier League campaign.
Skipper Chris Park jumped at the chance to recruit the 32-year-old, who is expected to feature in the majority of SPL1 fixtures for Lions this summer, writes the Bournemouth Daily Echo’s Dan Rose.
Conway, who played seven first-class matches for Oxford MCCU, has arrived to add experience to the Chapel Gate outfit’s seam bowling options.
Park explained: “He is an opening bowler for Herefordshire and is a cricket master at Clayesmore School.
“He wants to spend more time down here so, once he has finished his teaching commitments, he will be available for between 12 and 14 games.
“It’s a great signing. He is an experienced player and strengthens our bowling attack considerably.
“I am quite good friends with him having played against Herefordshire for Dorset in the past few years. He messaged me asking whether Bournemouth wanted a seam bowler.
“Hopefully, he can do well and help us with our challenge.”
Conway possesses an impressive wicket-taking haul in northern league cricket, having bagged 44 scalps for runners-up Bishop’s Auckland in the North Yorkshire & South Durham League last summer.
He garnered a career-best 8-34 in one match at Whitby – Conway’s aggregate wicket haul for Bishops’ topping the 450 mark in the past ten years.
Conway is also planning to take a role in nurturing the club's academy cricketers.
Skipper Park admits he may have a “selection headache” to deal with when assessing the depth of the Bournemouth squad.
Lions have been boosted by a number of other recruits for the new campaign, including left-arm all-rounder Dave Kidner.
The skipper added: “There is real competition for places this year. We have a good squad of 15 or 16 cricketers and I will have a selection headache when they are all available.
"As long as everyone gels and works as a team I feel we have the resources to challenge for promotion throughout the season.”
The wicketkeeper-batsman also revealed there could be other new faces on the horizon before Bournemouth’s first league fixture – a scheduled home clash with Andover at Chapel Gate on May 5.
Lions finished third in Southern Division One last season behind league winners Calmore Sports and runners-up Basingstoke & North Hants.
Asked about departures, the captain replied: “We have lost Matt Jones, who has decided to stay in London and not head back to Bournemouth this year.
“Chrystian Michalowski has moved to Birmingham due to work commitments.”
It’s going to need a drastic change in the current wet weather patterns if Trojans' scheduled Southern Premier League Division 2 curtain raiser against Sparsholt at Stoneham Lane is to go ahead.
Grounds across the entire country have been waterlogged as a result of heavy rain and a double dose of melting March snow, but nothing is likely to compare with a large slice of the outfield at the Trojans Club which, as recent pictures show, continues to resemble a ploughed field.
As a money raising exercise, the Trojans Club allowed a large temporary ‘marquee’ to be erected on the outfield to cater for Christmas party functions which had previously been held close by at North Stoneham Park, now a private housing development site.
But the grass under the ‘marquee’ on the area of cricket outfield normally used in the winter for junior rugby or soccer has been killed off.
Sizeable lorry tyre marks became embedded in the soil when the structures were removed from the site and, as can be seen, are waterlogged.
Now the clock is ticking all too fast for Trojans, who face the prospect of considerable financial outlay, probably through the engagement of outside contractors, to get the ground playable. The ‘top’ part of the outfield has also been scuffed up by rugby. Current weather conditions are totally alien to grass growing and are anticipated to be for the immediate future.
Trojans have already had their knuckles rapped by the Southern Premier League, who have issued the club with a formal warning about the condition of the outfield, which has attracted very poor marks from visiting captains and panel umpires during the past two summer seasons.
“The Crease” website continues to await a response to an email sent on 23 February 2018 to Trojans Club chairman Campbell Williams requested a formal response on the following points –
• What action did the Trojans Club take upon receipt of the formal warning sent last autumn by the Southern Premier League concerning the then state of the Stoneham Lane outfield ?
• bearing in mind the temporary Christmas function structures were removed in late December, why has that area of the outfield been left unattended and not received any remedial attention ?
• what plans does the Trojans Club have to rectify matters and when, if any work been set up, does it anticipate the remedial work will take place ?
• will in the opinion of the Trojans Club, the ground be fit for the opening SPL2 match against Sparsholt on May 5 ?
This website proposes to continue to monitor this on-going situation.