Dorset captain Chris Park has returned to his Bournemouth roots after a 15-year absence, having been appointed Director of Cricket at the Chapel Gate club.
Park, who has captained the Minor County for two years, will also turn out for the Lions as they look regain their top-flight status in the Southern Premier League after two summers in the relative backwaters of Division 1.
The 32-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman will be in charge of all adult training and coaching at the club.
Park has been playing his Premier League cricket in the East Midlands with Northampton Saints for ten years, having spent the 2001 season at Chapel Gate, scoring 412 runs as a promising teenager under Matt Swarbrick’s captaincy.
He spent three years on the Northants Academy before joining up with Saints, helping the club finish runners-up in the county premier league and winning the twenty20 competition three times.
“It was hard to leave Saints, but it was common knowledge I was returning to Bournemouth to live,” he explained.
“Having decided to play my club cricket in Dorset next season, I have been in discussion with several local clubs, but Bournemouth really impressed me the most.
"There is a real sense of momentum around the club and, with such fantastic playing and practice facilities, there is the scope to create something really special."
Park emphasized, however, his academy coaching role at nearby Parley, whose ground is barely half-a-mile from Chapel Gate is not affected.
“And out of respect to Parley and their commitee (who are working tirelessly to better their club), I won't be bringing players with me.
“The players I coach at Parley are aged between 10 and 16 years.
“The older one’s are just starting out in men's cricket. It's best they stay where they are in a known environment and keep improving that way,” Park added.
Bournemouth captain Martin Miller is delighted with Park’s Chapel Gate return.
He said: "This is a real coup for the club.
"We are very keen to regain our place in the Premier Division of the SPL and appointing Chris to the position of Director of Cricket is one of several initiatives that we are currently undertaking in order for this to happen."
Unless they meet in the twenty20 Cup, Chris Park won’t be playing against his two younger brothers, Nick and James next season.
They helped New Milton win promotion to the ECB Southern Premier Division this summer.