Waterlooville captain Jon Hudson is optimistic this could be the year his team finally launch a title challenge in Hampshire League division one.
Ville finished fifth last season and have been knocking on the door of promotion for the past few years.
Hudson leads his team out in their curtain raiser against Ellingham at Rowlands Avenue tomorrow looking to make a winning start.
The captain is boosted by the arrival of new overseas player, South African batsman Byron Hancock.
And the more frequent availability of strike bowler Sam Hillman will add to his firepower.
Hillman, last season’s leading wicket-taker, has finished his university course and moved back to the area.
‘I am hoping we can field a more settled side after injuries and unavailabilities hit us last season,’ said Hudson.
‘Having Sam Hillman back for a full season should make a big difference and he will be my vice-captain.
‘He is not only a wicket-taker but extremely economical.
‘That builds the pressure up on the opposition batsmen and allows wickets to fall at the other end.
‘Our obvious target is to get promotion after being in and around the top for the past few seasons.
‘It is a very competitive league, though, and it won’t be easy.’
Ellingham are likely to provide a stiff test – as they look to repeat last season’s success over Waterlooville.
On that occasion, Hudson & Co went down by one run in a thriller and the skipper is keen to put the record straight.
One of Ville’s weaknesses in recent seasons has been an inability to come out on top in tight games.
That is something Hudson knows his team will have to address if they are to achieve their ambitions.
‘Last season we had a lot of games affected by the weather and there is nothing we can do about that,’ said the captain.
‘But we also lost games that we should have won and we have also tied more games than any other team.
‘In the end, our carelessness at times cost us massively.
‘We are still a relatively young team but we are gaining more experience each season we are together.
‘It will be my second season as captain which hopefully will make things a little easier, too.’
Ville are hoping newcomer Hancock – a left-handed opener – will help them build a platform at the top end of the batting.
The 20-year-old from Cape Town plied his trade with Rochdale in the Lancashire League last season.
‘If we can get runs on the board then I think we have the bowling strength to defend them,’ said Hudson.
‘Apart from Hillman we also have a good spin attack with John Burnett, Matt Cook and Alex Shephard.’
Waterlooville: Byron Hancock, Jon Hudson, Alex Lamont, Matt Charman, David Howe, Max Goddard, Andy Reynolds, Sam Hillman, John Burnett, Nathan White, Matt Cook.