Aussie opener Jack's the lad for Meadows
BELPER Meadows Cricket Club have landed the major signing of Australian opening batsman Jack Smith for the forthcoming season.
Formerly a member of Weston Creek - the same club as last year's overseas player Dean Lovett, Smith signed for State side South Australia in April 2002 and now plays club cricket for Adelaide CC as well as South Austria 2nd XI.
He is yet to make his first class debut but the Meadows club will be looking for a large number of runs from him and hope he will be the person to take 1st XI into the Premier League.
Other new faces in the squad are Matt Jones (19), a right-handed batsman signed from Spondon who featured strongly in their 1st XI last season.
The batting has been further strengthened by the capture of Dan Challinor, a left-hander who has moved into the area from staffordshire.
He previously captained Swynnerton Park 1st XI in the North Staffs League.
The first team batting looks very strong when you add to these Dave Halliday and 16 year-old Ben McGonigal who has come up through the club's junior ranks and forced his way into the 1st XI last season, scoring two half-centuries.
Ben Tait has taken over as captain over the 1st XI while the experienced Dave King continues as vice captain.
Bowling centres around captain Ben Tait who was the 1st divisions leading wicket taker last season and 17 year old James Cox who has spent the winter in Australia playing for Weston Creek.
During this time he played for the Canberra Comets side against the touring England Academy and took the wicker of Nottinghamshire wicket-keeper Chris Read.
The 2nd XI also has a new captain in Pete Brooks who was vice captain for the last two seasons. His vice-captain is Andy Goodall.
Goodall was the only player to take any credit from last seasons relegation when he scored over 400 runs.
The main strengthening comes from the return of batman Dave Jones after a season off while Richard Cleaver returns after a year spent working in Australia.
Bowler Dan Lacey has also been signed from Stainsby and there is the feeling that the club have every chance of promotion from the new Division 4 North.
With the influx of players in the top two teams plus a couple of other squad players this will mean players dropping down into the 3rds and 4ths and hence strengthening those sides too.
Club officials are hopeful of a very successful season, particularly with the back-up of a strong junior set-up which collected six trophies in all last season.
More of the older juniors should also be pushing for places in the senior sides.
Outdoor net practice starts Tuesday 8th April at 6.30pm at the ground.
First friendly is away at Alvaston and Boulton on Sunday April. 13
The first league game is Saturday 26th April when 1st XI are at home to West Hallam.
On Sunday 27th the 3rd XI are home to Old Park from Ilkeston.
Some home matches still require sponsors and for this and any matters about the club, contact club secretary.