Hadleigh skipper Ben Wallis has strengthened his bowling attack for the start of the season after signing Auckland under-19 pacer Luke Istead.
The right-arm all rounder joins Hadleigh alongside returning batsman Ben Parkour, who has had a winter season playing in Australia.
Captain Wallis said he has strengthened both his batting and his bowling for the forthcoming Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Division One season. Istead was part of the Auckland side which were runners up at the National Under-19 Cup in New Zealand.
“We are definitely pleased about signing Luke (Istead) from New Zealand, his bowling is going to be crucial for us next year,” said Wallis. “Ben (Parker) will be coming back in good form after having a very successful year with us and out in Australia.”
Hadleigh, who face Witham at home on Saturday (1pm), are hoping Kyle Tanner is in the same form as last after taking 44 (highest in the league) wickets last year.
However, Wallis will be without Dom Manthorpe, who has left to join East Anglian Premier League side Bury St Edmunds for this year. The all rounder scored 292 runs for Hadleigh last season.
Wallis took over the captaincy from Josh Davey midway through the summer and enjoyed six wins on the bounce in their remaining games of the season.
“This will be my first full season as captain and I am thoroughly looking forward to it,” said Wallis. “We had a good run at the end of last, unfortunately the season ended a bit too soon for us but we want to keep that momentum going from last year.”
Hadleigh finished sixth last year and Wallis thinks that there’s no reason why they cannot improve on that this time around.
“We try to be a realistic club, but we think we have a top side this year and we should be really pushing the top teams. There’s no reason why we can’t finish in the top four,” said Wallis.
Despite Sudbury running away with the league last season, Wallis’ team were only 17 points from fourth spot which gives the skipper confidence going into the season.
“Now that Sudbury have been promoted, the league is going to much tighter up the top and we hope to be part of it when the season ends,” said Wallis.
With Wallis in line to bowl off-spin for the start of the season, the keeping duties will be down to Callum Morrin, who won younger player of the year at the club.
The young wicketkeeper made three stumpings and four catches at the end of the season. He also made 46 against Witham seconds.
“Callum will be keeping wicket for us this season. He is a talented young player who has the opportunity to cement his place in the side.”
The seconds will be captained by Ryan Phillips and travel to Mildenhall III (1pm) in Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Division Four.