WILTSHIRE LEAGUE: Bassett in a spin
WOOTTON Bassett are hopeful of wrapping up a deal for a new slow bowler after spinning stalwart Lee Stevens emigrated to the USA.
Stevens and Ian Lancaster have formed a potent partnership for the Ryland's Way outfit in 2014, with their control and wicket-taking habit propelling Bassett to second spot in Wiltshire League Division One.
However, the former has played his final game for the club for the foreseeable future and captain Darren Beasant, having conceded Stevens' departure is a major blow for his side, is close to drafting in a new recruit to reinforce his arsenal.
"We've lost Lee, unfortunately, he's emigrated back out to the US where he's got a job with a football club. Lee's last game was last week and that will be a big miss," said Beasant.
"We're hoping to have a new signing in for the weekend who will do some bowling for us in the second half of the year and give us something we've been missing. We're hoping that will come through in the next couple of days. I'm sat here anxiously by the phone waiting for him.
"We had a gameplan at the start of the year, with (Akash) Sharma and (Rog) Willoughby with the new ball for the first few overs, not attacking overly. Then, if we can get through the first 10 or 12 overs, restricting the scoring rate to threes, we come into our own with 24 overs of spin in tandem.
"Without Lee, unless we can find someone who can offer us the same discipline he did, we find ourselves with three right-arm seamers and a guy bowling very decent slow left arm and we have to come up with a new gameplan.
"We need to try to find somebody who can offer control in the middle overs. Lee's been taking threes and fours as well.
"Ian got 20 wickets at the turn and will probably end with 45 or 50. He's a big weapon and we'll have to think about how we use him. I'll have to be a bit more creative as a captain. I'm going to have to be a bit more inventive."
Bassett make the tricky trip to Penhill to face Swindon NALGO this weekend, with Beasant stressing his team will be made to work outside their comfort zone against the second-bottom hosts.
"Without wishing to be disrespectful, the wicket at Penhill is very different to the one at Ryland's Way and there's no point in trying to get down on one knee and hit it through extra cover because it doesn't happen," he said.
"We've got to be prepared to think about that and maybe approach the cricket a little bit differently.
Jack Paish returns to the Bassett side for the trip to NALGO but Jack Dymoke is absent.
Pete Ellis, who registered a big hundred in the second team recently, is promoted to the top table.