James Scutt believes his Hambledon side are better equipped to stay in Southern Electric Premier League division two as they bid to put an end their yo-yo reputation.
The Dons skipper steered his side to promotion from division three last year following relegation from the second tier in 2009.
And the Ridge Meadow outfit begin their campaign tomorrow with a home clash against Ventnor, who were relegated from the top flight last term.
But despite the loss of wicketkeeper batsman Michael Johnson, who was a major factor in the team’s promotion last term, Scutt insists his class of 2011 can prove they are good enough to stay up.
He said: ‘We were playing in this league two years ago but we’ve got much more experience now.
‘I think we have every expectation to stay up and I think we’ve got a better chance of doing it.
‘Division three is a really tough league to get out of and we’ve done that twice now.
‘But I don’t want to be one of those sides that is too good for division three and not good enough for division two.’
Scutt is keen to target a season of consolidation and believes new overseas recruit Dave Williams will help his men establish their place.
He said: ‘If someone offered me mid-table now, I’d grab it with both hands. We have made some great new recruits and I think we’ve got enough in the side to win games.
‘I would hope we are stronger than a few sides in that league.
‘Dave is only 21 but he’s an opening bowler for St George in Sydney.
‘He’s a big lad and he will intimidate a few batsmen.
‘He’s pretty sharp and hopefully he can fire on all cylinders from the start of the season.
‘He can certainly bat as well so I’ve got high hopes for the guy.’
Ventnor meanwhile are under a new captain this term with Ian Hilsum stepping up to take over from Charlie Freeston.
New Zealand top order batsman Cole McConichie has also joined as the overseas player for the season as the Islanders bid to return to the top division.
Hilsum said: ‘We were disappointed to get relegated last year but we’ve got some new youngsters coming into the side and we’ve still got good players.
‘Cole looks a very solid player. He’s played for New Zealand under-17s, Canterbury A and he can bowl a bit of off-spin as well.
‘We’re expecting good things from him.’
Hambledon: James Scutt, Rob Atkins, Jack Lavous, Greg Hill, Dan Hewitt, Nick Scutt, Dave Williams, Indy Chakrabarti, Toby de Mellow, Rhidian Chapman, Rupert Hetherington
Ventnor: Adam Hose, Cole McConichie, Martin Blackman, Ian Hilsum, Roger Miller, Neil Westhorpe, Henry Bartlett, Mark Whyte, David Bevan, Rob Snell, Charlie Freeston