SWINDON captain Liam Tucker has branded the West of England Premier League Glos/Wilts Division as a “ridiculously difficult league” in 2014.
Swindon, whose team won promotion from the Wiltshire Division last term, face Biddestone in their opening fixture tomorrow and Tucker stressed that a year of consolidation would not be considered unacceptable at the County Ground, particularly given the strength of some of the teams he and his players will come up against in the next four months.
“You always start the season with that as your aim but we understand we’ve come up from a lower league so actually a consolidation year might be reasonable as well. You start the year wanting to win every game but it’s a ridiculously difficult league this year - more difficult than it has been in previous years,” he said.
“We know full well that two years ago that we got relegated out of the league, so we know how difficult it’s going to be.
“There’s not an easy game in the league. Tewkesbury have come up with an impeccable record, you’ve got Lechlade, Biddestone and Rockhampton who were all there or thereabouts last year and then Glos City and Warminster coming down from Prem Two.
“Everyone has been in the league for a few years, come up with good records or come down as big clubs. That’s what you play for. We want to be playing at a good standard and this year will be a competitive league.
“We’ve obviously had pre-season and unbelievably we’ve had three weeks of it. The lads are keen to get going. They’ve all looked pretty decent. All the batters have had a bit of a bat and all the bowlers have got some overs in their legs.”
The visit of Biddestone to the County Ground tomorrow, weather permitting, is a tough start to a tough campaign for Swindon - with familiar foes in the shape of dynamic batsman Dwaine Perry and swing master Naeem Khan aiming to haunt Tucker’s men.
“It’s the first game of the season and you never quite know what you’re going to come up against and who they’ve signed. I presume they’ll have an overseas,” said the Swindon captain.
“Dwaine was leading runscorer in the league last year, or there or thereabouts. Naeem Khan is always there or thereabouts with the wickets and they’ve got a good set of young lads behind them backing them up with bat and ball.
“They’ll be top two or three, they are every single year, so we know how difficult a start it is for us.”
Jake Goodwin misses the match as he is with Hampshire Academy, while Swindon are still waiting to complete a deal for an overseas player. Scott Edmed is not available to Tucker as he is sitting his pilot exams.