Eaton Socon have signed a new South African star ahead of their debut Tucker Gardner League top-flight season.

Matthew Kirkham, who holds a British passport, has been drafted in as overseas player-coach for 2016.

He is a seam bowler and hard-hitting middle order batsman who arrives with a glowing reference from a countryman who helped them to title glory last summer.

Kirkham plays in the same school and Natal province teams in South Africa as Mickey Hay, who hit 1,735 runs and took 63 wickets to inspire Eaton Socon's march to the Division Two title last season.

Robert Ashwell, the club's head of junior cricket, was responsible for the signing of Kirkham.

He said: "Matt will hopefully be a perfect fit for us as we prepare for an exciting first season in Division One.

"He can open the bowling, he is a big-hitting batsman who will probably operate at five or six in the order, and he is a very keen coach which will benefit our successful junior section.

"Matthew has received some very good references from Mickey and the fact he holds a British passport is a major bonus.

"It means we could potentially recruit another overseas player if we feel the need to go down that route after Christmas."

Eaton Socon hold their AGM on November 25 at which Jonny Carpenter is set to succeed long-serving Terry Day as captain.

There will no longer be drawn games in Tucker Gardner League cricket next season. The league will now operate a win/loss format with 50-overs-a-side games. Bowlers can bowl a maximum of 10 overs each.

Three teams will now be relegated from Division Two each season, rather than the previous two.