WOOTTON Bassett captain Darren Beasant is hoping his side will be bolstered next month by the arrival of two mystery ex-pats returning to the region from Australia.
Bassett, who are preparing for an assault on the Wiltshire League title in 2014, opted against bringing in an overseas or domestic professional over the winter but received a 12th-hour boost with the news that the two players, one of whom has played grade cricket Down Under, will be linking up with the club in mid-May.
Beasant remained coy about the identities of the pair but he was enthused by the prospect of the duo arriving at Rylands Way.
“They’re two lads that were born in Swindon and emigrated over to Australia 15 or 16 years ago. Mum and dad have sold up and are moving back to the area. One of their relatives is a friend of the family and asked if I was still playing cricket as they were interested in finding a club, so we bit their hands off,” he told the Advertiser.
“They’re not pros as such, they’re just two guys from the area who are moving back from Oz and one of them happens to have played grade cricket. We did spend some time looking for overseas professionals and local professionals but, given the standard of cricket we’re playing and our budget, it’s tough.
“There are a lot of clubs spending a lot of money and, given we’re playing in the Wiltshire League, what can we offer them? It’s purely coincidence that we found these two guys needed a club so hopefully they enjoy the cricket they play at Wootton Bassett.”
Former coach Shaz Khan has left Bassett to return to Shrivenham after a difficult season in 2013, while AK Sharma is back with Beasant’s men following a year with Burbage & Easton Royal.
“Playing wise Shaz has gone, Jack Dymoke will be away at university for the first part of the season but other than that we’ve managed to keep hold of everyone from last year, Mr (Sam) Lawro included,” said Beasant.
“AK Sharma is back from Burbage. He’s a Bassett lad through and through, went off to Burbage to play from cricket last year and decided to come back to Wootton Bassett. He’ll be a real asset with bat and ball.
“He’ll give us a real bit of an edge with the new ball, which maybe we lacked at times last year, and he’s a more than useful left-handed, middle order batter.
“Hopefully, fingers crossed, he’ll be joined by a couple of Australians in the second week of May but we’re waiting for that to be out and out confirmed.
“I’d like to think we’ve got a pretty decent squad of players and, if we do ourselves justice, which we didn’t last year, we should be in the mix and aiming for promotion.”
l Lechlade’s Joe Breet and Goatacre’s Ed Kilbee have been called up by Wiltshire for their Unicorns Knockout Trophy match against Devon on Sunday.
The full Wiltshire squad for the match at Instow is: Michael Coles (Corsham) (Captain), Tahir Afridi (Henley), Joe Breet (Lechlade), Neil Clark (Potterne), Tom Foley (Corsham), James Hayward (South Wilts), Ed Kilbee (Goatacre), Henry Langford (Brockhampton), Adam Miles (Cardiff) (Wicket Keeper), Ashur Morrison (Corsham), Tom Morton (South Wilts), Jake Roberts (Potterne)