Hindley: Don’t bank on us retaining our crown

Havant won both the league and Twenty20 Cup last term. Picture: Mike Vimpany
Havant won both the league and Twenty20 Cup last term. Picture: Mike Vimpany
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New Hampshire signing Sam Northeast  Picture: Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Hampshire head to Northeast for success

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Richard Hindley insists he is in the dark over Havant’s prospects of retaining their division one crown.

The skipper, who led the side to a surprise title last season, has seen several other clubs recruit to strengthen their ranks.

Ben Robins – a former Andover seam bowler – is the only arrival at Havant Park, though.

Meanwhile, ex-Hampshire Academy and Hambledon batsman Chris Stone will link up with the club later in the season – when he returns from university.

But after thriving as rank outsiders last term – sneaking in under the radar to claim the silverware – Hindley is playing down his side’s hopes of a successful defence and deflecting any unwanted expectation.

Instead, he reckons South Wilts go into the campaign as favourites after recruiting a box-office talent in Glenn Maxwell.

The Aussie batsman arrives fresh from the IPL, where he has played twice for Kevin Pietersen’s side – the Delhi Daredevils.

‘There are lots of teams who could do well and I think the league will be tougher again this year,’ said Hindley.

‘Where we fit into it, I honestly don’t know.

‘Everybody will know that if we play well, we can make it a tough game of cricket and that’s how we look at it.

‘We will do our best and see where we come at the end of it. Other teams have definitely improved and have recruited really well.

‘Bashley have picked up a number of players and there are a few new captains around – that always seems to make a difference.

‘But South Wilts are the team to watch because they have got an overseas player who is incredible in Glenn Maxwell.

‘He’s played in the IPL and he’s hit a 50 off 19 balls in the Australian t20 Big Bash competition.

‘So we’re all very much looking forward to bowling at someone who can do that!’

While South Wilts have secured one of the most impressive overseas players to join the league in recent times, Havant have drawn a blank.

Having had success with overseas players of the quality of Cameron Merchant and Mike Thistle in the past – both of whom went on to play first-class cricket in Australia – Hindley admits it is a disappointment.

He said: ‘If anyone does turn up, they will not be here for very long and would not be a season’s worth. It would just be for a couple of matches.

‘With the level we’re at, if we get someone, they have to be very good or you are just getting another club cricketer. We’ve looked and asked but nothing really came of it, which is a great shame but we have other players to do the job.

‘There are a lot of regulations these days to get into the country and that has played a part.’

Havant start their campaign with a tough trip to Bournemouth tomorrow.

They follow it with a Sunday trip to Liphook & Ripsley in the first round of the Kingfisher Beer Cup – the ECB’s national club championship.

Havant: Ronnie Crockford, Jez Bulled, Scott Mills, Stuart Ransley, Ben Walker, Richard Hindley, Steve Matthews, Tim Jackson, Jez Ord, Ben Robins, Pete Hopson