A new league campaign starts this coming weekend for Ventnor Cricket Club.

The first team, back in the ECB Southern Electric Premier Division after winning promotion last year, will be determined to make a better fist of life at the top table of local club cricket than in 2010, when they were relegated on the last Saturday of the season.

Skipper Ian Hilsum is well aware of the challenge facing his squad and will be hoping that the injection of new blood in the shape of paceman Elliot Wilson, wicket-keeper Chris Ridley, all-rounder Jamie Miller and opening batsman Ollie Mills will provide greater strength in depth and competition for places.

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Importantly, former Lincolnshire and Boston seamer Wilson, ex Bournemouth man Ridley and Hampshire Academy leg spinner Miller all have experience of ECB Premier Division cricket, and with the Islanders pipping Havant for the services of the high rated Mills, the squad looks equipped to be competitive at this level.

Ventnor go against Bashley on Saturday at 13:00 at the Newclose Cricket Ground, Newport..

The second team, led by Rob Snell, will want to improve on last year’s showing, when they finished fourth in Hampshire League Division 2.

With the benefit of a season of County 2 cricket behind them, a predominantly youthful side will be seeking greater consistency although as ever, fielding a settled side may well be a challenge with availability and first team call ups invariably an issue.

Regardless, promotion to County Division 1 is the aim with George Hatt and Pat Morris returning to the Ventnor ranks and the likes of Martin Blackman providing the experience, once he has recovered from shoulder surgery.

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The team travel to Otterbourne for the season’s opening fixture.


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