Bond: Added experience will help Hambledon bounce back

Bedhampton confident of promotion challenge

Matt Benfield. Picture: Allan Hutchings

Portsmouth & Southsea are urged to start strong

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Will Bond is convinced added experience can help Hambledon bounce back following last season’s relegation from Southern League division two.

Their curtain-raiser against Fair Oak at Ridge Meadow tomorrow will mark the return of veteran bowler Ian Turner.

The 49-year-old played for the club’s second team last year, while batsman Simon Barnard is back after a period away.

Bond also has high hopes for Australian overseas player Sam Beagley.

With the new additions and the rest of last season’s squad still at Hambledon, Bond is hoping his team won’t suffer the same problems as 12 months ago.

The captain believes the return of Turner will be a big bonus.

‘As a relatively young and inexperienced captain, it will be great to have someone like Ian in the team,’ said Bond.

‘His experience will prove invaluable.

‘Our young spin bowler, George Harding, will benefit enormously bowling in tandem with him.

‘It is something he hasn’t had a chance to do before.

‘He was our leading wicket-taker last season but is still learning his trade.

‘Last season we only had one player above 30 and it was a tough league for a lot of the youngsters.

‘Simon Barnard has also played a lot of good league cricket in the past.

‘The added experience in the team should make a difference.

‘It was disappointing to be relegated at the end of last season.

‘On reflection, though, that is probably where the squad was.

‘We had lots of good youngsters but they lacked the experience at that level.

‘In reality, we were a couple of batsmen and a couple of bowlers short. It says a lot about the club that even though we were relegated not a single player has left.

‘We have a lot of loyal members right the way through the club.’

Beagley has arrived at Hambledon as an opening bowler, proficient fielder and he is a good lower-order 
batsman.

How well the Melbourne talent performs will depend on how quickly he can acclimatise to English conditions.

Other new recruit, Alex Willoughby, will not face that problem.

Despite being local to Hambledon, the teenager was playing for Burridge in division one last season.

Bond regards him as another exciting prospect.

‘Alex is a good, hard-hitting top-order batsman,’ added the skipper.

‘He is still very young but has bags of talent.

‘This is a new league for us and we have to see how it goes.’

HAMBLEDON: Will Bond, George Marshall, Indy Chakrabarti,

Alex Willoughby, Simon Barnard, Henry Glanfield, Spencer Le Clerq, Ian Turner, Sam Beagley, Rhidian Chapman, George Harding