CAPTAIN Tom Whittaker says he wants to bring the enjoyment back to playing cricket for Purton this season, ahead of their season opener against Marshfield on Saturday.

Purton finished the 2018 WEPL Wiltshire season in seventh and lost 10 of their 17 games throughout a summer where finding consistency proved to be more difficult than first hoped.

But with a young, fresh team at his side, Whittaker said he is keen to lift the pressure off the shoulders of his largely university-based teammates and revert back to playing cricket for the love in 2019.

He said: “There are no real expectations for us to go out and do amazing things. Mainly, we want to bring the enjoyment back to playing cricket for Purton.

“At times, it’s been quite a pressured environment, but we’ve got a good group of young lads now and I think that if we can enjoy ourselves every week, we’ll definitely get the results.”

Having finished second last season, Marshfield will present Purton with as tough an opening-day test as they could wish to have.

But Whittaker is feeling confident his team can spring an early-season surprise.

He said: “They’re a pretty strong side – they’re always up there or there about.

“As a team, I know we’ve definitely got the skillset to compete with them, so it will be interesting.”

“It will act as a marker for us to see where we’re at and see what we can learn going forward.

“As the season goes on, I think we’ll definitely grow into a really competitive team.”

With eight of their first XI still at university, selection for Saturday and midweek games will vary significantly for Purton.

Add in the loss of former captain Aaron Lee and no overseas replacement, Whittaker is hopefully his young team can still compete in a league full of experienced cricketers.

He said: “We’ve lost Aaron (Lee) and we’ve not been able to get our overseas back, so we’ve got a young team this season.

“We’ve made quite a lot of new signings, so we’ve got Conor Cleary (Swindon), Harrison Painter (Marlborough) and Lachlan Beggs (Goatacre).

“We’ve got a really good, young team and I think it will take a few weeks for the team to gel.

“I’m sure we’ll grow as the season develops and hopefully, come September, we’ll be in a better position than we were last year.”