WOOTTON Bassett have rediscovered their identity as the new Wiltshire League season rolls into action this weekend, according to captain Darren Beasant.
Bassett, targeting promotion at the second attempt following their relegation from the West of England Premier League pyramid in 2012, have kept together much of the side which won all but one of their matches in the second half of last season for the 2014 edition of the competition.
With stylish batsman Sam Lawro, young talent AK Sharma and the ruthlessly laid-back Harvey Cummins in tow, Beasant believes he has the core of a squad capable of battling their way back into the WEPL - and he stressed that the old team spirit at Rylands Way has returned with a vengeance.
“There’s been a bit of the old Wootton Bassett feel about the place, which is good. I think we lost our identity for a couple of years and it took time for people to integrate into the club,” he said.
“In the second half of the year, when we started getting results, I think it was because we’d managed to get camaraderie back and people were enjoying each other’s company and our own cricket, which at the level we play at it should be about.
“People had a smile on their face and were looking forward to Saturday because they could have a laugh and, guess what, we played some decent cricket along the way.
“We’ve managed to retain last year’s side so the ambition really has to be to win it and get promoted into the WEPL pyramid.
“Last year, whenever you get relegated you’re a little bit guilty of thinking you’ll be fine at that standard. In the first four or five weeks we found it hard and we were on a hiding to nothing after that.
“I see it as being quite a competitive league. There are quite a lot of sides in there who, on their day, can beat anyone but are pretty inconsistent. Maybe one side will put some form together and do what Purton did last year and get head and shoulders away. More likely I think we’ll see pretty competitive cricket most weeks, results will be hard to predict and I can’t see anyone running away with it.”
Bassett kick off their campaign with a home clash against Swindon NALGO tomorrow.