WILTSHIRE skipper Mike Coles is looking forward to blowing out the cobwebs when the county side grab their first action of the year against Berkshire on Sunday.
Wiltshire, whose friendly clash with Gloucestershire’s 2nd XI was rained off last weekend, take on Berkshire for the Marlborough Cup, the clash taking place at Salisbury’s South Wilts club after Trowbridge’s County Ground was deemed unplayable following the recent wet weather.
Captain Coles is hoping a squad filled with more players plying their trade in the top divisions of local cricket can help set Wiltshire up for a successful season when the newly-christened Unicorns Counties competition get under way later this month.
“We’ve been netting throughout January and February but I know that a lot of guys have also been away playing on other countries, so Sunday could be the first time they’ve had a bit of a hit and a bowl,” said Coles.
“It’s a shame our game against Gloucestershire was off but we want to go out and try and win the Marlborough Cup this weekend.
“We had a few dodgy periods last season and I think that it might help to freshen things up. I think Shards (Neil Shardlow, manager) summed it up when he pointed out that it was the second innings that were letting us down, so we’ve got to concentrate on improving there this summer.
“I think not having enough players playing Premier One and Premier Two level cricket was a bit detrimental and with Potterne getting promoted, hopefully we’ll have a lot more who are playing at that level week in, week out.
“There’s the guys from Potterne, South Wilts and Corsham now and they’re going to be facing better batsmen and better bowlers, so county level isn’t as big a step.
“I started playing for Wiltshire 12 or 13 years ago and there was a point, about three years in, where we had a really strong squad. I think this current squad might be as good as that.
“From the squad picked for this weekend, there are three or four regulars from last season that have been left out, so they’ll be pushing to get back in there too.”
Wiltshire’s first Unicorns KO Trophy clash, away to Devon, is on April 27.
Wiltshire squad v Berkshire: Michael Coles (Corsham, captain), Tahir Afridi (Henley), Tom Alsop (Hampshire Academy), Joe Breet (Lechlade), Neil Clark (Potterne), James Hayward (South Wilts), Henry Langford (Brockhampton), Adam Miles (Cardiff, wicketkeeper), Ashur Morrison (Corsham), Jack Mynott (South Wilts), Jake Roberts (Potterne), Ed Young (Potterne), Steve Warner (South Wilts).
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