Stuart Ransley has been backed to lead Havant’s new era as he prepares to lead the challenge to regain their Southern Electric Premier League crown.
Richard Hindley relinquished the role at the end of last term and Ransley got the nod to succeed him as Havant attempt to force their way back into contention to challenge champions South Wilts.
While Havant finished runners-up last season, they were some way behind and will need to find their old winning mentality once again – starting with tomorrow’s home clash with Alton.
But head coach and batsman Pete Hopson believes Ransley’s knowledge of the game and first-class cricket experience with Cardiff University will stand him in good stead to thrive in the new role.
Hopson said: ‘Stuart is probably not quite as laid-back as Rich but he is still a very calm character.
‘You won’t see him lose his rag at all and he has a great deal of cricket knowledge. He’s played first-class cricket so he knows what he’s doing on the field.
‘I’m certain he’ll do a good job.
‘We’ve got seven or eight players there who know a lot about cricket and we know what we’re doing.
‘And Stuey has got plenty of people’s ears to bend if he wants. But I’m sure he has his own ideas and we are looking forward to playing under him.’
Havant’s hopes are boosted by the return of all-rounder Chris Morgan, who is back from a stint working in Dubai, while exciting Australian seamer Rohan Kandiah has taken the overseas role.
Hopson said: ‘Chris is back for us and that’s huge. He’s a big talent and it’s great to have him back available for us for the season.
‘Rohan hails from Midland Guildford in Perth. He’s just coming back from injury but he is back to fitness, fresh and he’s ready to go.’
Havant II are due to travel to Paultons in division two.
After last year’s promotion, premier division new boys Burridge are due to host Hampshire Academy, weather permitting.
Rick Ankers’ side enjoyed a fine campaign to earn their place in the top flight and the skipper has taken a long-term view with his recruitment policy.
‘I didn’t want to go out and get hired guns who just wanted to play in the top league,’ said Ankers.
‘We’ve added Jamie Richards from Liphook & Ripsley and Rory Prentice from Hambledon.
‘We’ve also got Alex Styles and Geoff Dods back.
‘Unfortunately, Richard Kenway has retired but the idea was to trust the lads that got us up and build on it in the right areas.
‘We know this season is about consolidation but I don’t expect us to be in a relegation dogfight.’
Hampshire’s Sean Terry was also due to play for Burridge but is out with a fractured elbow.
Ventnor, meanwhile, will be able to call upon Hampshire duo Danny Briggs and Michael Bates for their trip to South Wilts.
They join the returning Tom Friend in the Islanders’ ranks.