LECHLADE chairman Paul Rowley is expecting his latest overseas signing, South African Juanre van Wyk, to explode onto the West of England Premier League scene following his last-minute recruitment.
Rowley turned to van Wyk - a destructive top-order batsman - after former West Indian Test star Sylvester Joseph failed to finalise the paperwork necessary to complete his move to the Manor Ground this summer.
Having shrugged off that disappointment, Rowley is now confident he has found a more than able replacement in the shape of 25-year-old van Wyk, a first-class cricketer with Free State in his native country.
He told the Advertiser: “Don’t ask me how to pronounce his name. I think at his last club they called him Dave. He’s joining us.
“He’s a pro in South Africa - a new pro. By all accounts he’s an explosive batsman and let’s hope he explodes.
“With it being late in the day post-Sylvester we can’t tell you too much, without wishing to be evasive. He’s a first-class cricketer, he’s 25 so he’s at the other end of the spectrum to Sylvester.
“In the last two years he’s been playing in the Northamptonshire leagues for Rushden and he’s done spectacularly well. I don’t think he’ll have a problem stepping up to the Lech. He looks the business on paper and okay, he doesn’t have Sylvester’s ex-Test class but he’s clearly very talented and we’re not just getting him over for the fresh air.”
Rowley admitted that Joseph’s failure to sort out his visa was hugely disappointing to his club, saying: “To cut a long story short, Sylvester didn’t sort his visa out so we said thank you and goodnight and terminated his contract.
“It was disappointing because we worked hard to get it sorted over months to bring it all together. That’s life.”
Meanwhile, Rowley has added ex-Zimbabwe star Ryan Higgins to the club’s squad ahead of their Glos/Wilts Division campaign, while Northumberland left-armer Michael Craig has also arrived to bolster the team’s bowling arsenal.