Another exciting season is in prospect for Eaton Socon.
That's the confident prediction of captain Jonny Carpenter on the eve of the new Cambs & Hunts Premier League campaign.
Carpenter led the local lads to third place in Whiting & Partners Division One in 2018 when they enjoyed their best-ever season.
They were involved in a thrilling title race until the closing weekend of a campaign in which they beat champions Saffron Walden twice but paid the price for slipping up against lesser opponents.
“Everyone wants to be part of a progressive club,” said Carpenter. “And Eaton Socon is certainly that.
“We're always looking to improve on and off the pitch, and there is always a good feel around the place.
“It was great to challenge at the top end of the table last season and we certainly hope we can be up there again.
“We proved we can compete against any team at this level with our results against Saffron Walden, but we also need to ensure we don't have the slip-ups that we did a couple of times last summer.
“Finishing in the top three is the target and I feel we are just as strong – if not a little bit stronger – than last year.
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“We definitely have match-winners in our team. We've got batsmen who can hit a century and bowlers who can take five wickets.”
South African ace Gareth Macaskill replaces countryman Wade Lezar in the Eaton Socon fold.
Macaskill played for Surrey 2nds last summer and is a 'serious batsman' according to Carpenter who watched the new recruit hit a century in a warm-up game last weekend.
Returning wicket-keeper/batsman David Humphrey also looks in fine fettle after a friendly ton while Zimbabwean prospect Luke Oldknow will add strength to both the batting and bowling. He has been selected to represent his country in the Under 19 World Cup this year.
Joe Watling and Adam Newman are welcomed back into the bowling attack – led by Joe Dawborn – following illness and injury respectively.
One man who is unlikely to be seen this summer is opener Matt Pateman following knee surgery.
“Matt is obviously a big miss for us,” added Carpenter, ahead of an opening day trip to March. “But we've made a couple of good signings and look to be in good shape.
“Sawston & Babraham look to be the team to beat, but we'll hopefully be up there and it's important to get off to a good start.”
The Eaton Socon second team will compete in the new Whiting & Partners Division Three this summer under the captaincy of Graeme Duff.
They were promoted from Division One of the Hunts League and face another side to have made that leap – Peterborough outfit Bharat Sports – in their opener this Saturday.