Captain Tim Jarvis says consolidation is key for West Chiltington & Thakeham as they embark on a cricket campaign at the highest-ever level they have played.
They will be playing in Division 3 West of the newly-restructured Sussex League and face tough challenges against strong Worthing, Findon, Goring and Steyning sides.
And while they face those increased tests, former Brighton & Hove player Jarvis, who is at the helm for his second season, says that is one Chilt will ‘relish’.
To combat the step up, they have strengthened their ranks with the addition of attack bowler Hugh Warmisham from Burgess Hill and local batsman Raj Kuchhadia.
Also, subject to the usual Home Office clearance, Chilt hope to have two more Indian overseas players. As in 2016, one will generally play for the 1st XI and one for the 2nds.
On their ambitions for the campaign, Jarvis said: “Like any other year, we’ll see how the league is looking at the end of May and take it from there. From where I sit right now, the 1st XI will probably be aiming for consolidation this term.
“It’s the highest standard we’ve played and it will depend on whether we can get our best side out each week.
“In 2017, we accepted the league changes even if in the short term, we had taken a step back in Division 5 West from the standard of Division 4 in 2016. We knew it was for the greater good as the league was being restructured.
“Now we’re playing a league above 2016 and the opposition reflects that. Worthing were a Premier League side until recently, Findon, Goring, Pagham and Steyning have always appeared to be way above us and now we’re playing them home and away. It’s a challenge but one we will relish.”
Of their new additions and some that are departing the ranks, the Chilt captain explained: “Hugh will bring some much-needed bite to our attack in Division 3 West to support the likes of Jake Hodgson as Tim van Noort doesn’t plan to play every week from now on.
“Hugh has certainly looked good in the nets and knows many of the sides we will play this season. We also have Raj Kuchhadia, who is a batsman but a bit of an unknown quantity.
“Leaving wise, it’s more colts who are going to university and one or two better ones deciding cricket is no longer for them which is disappointing. One or two have got Saturday jobs and one 1st XI regular has picked up a hand injury playing football and won’t be ready for the start.”
Chilt’s league campaign begins on Saturday away to Roffey 2nd.