Smith is determined to bounce back

Great & Little Tew captain Harry Smith
Great & Little Tew captain Harry Smith

Captain Harry Smith is determined to get Great & Little Tew back up at the first attempt.

The Ledwell Road club were relegated on the final day of the Home Counties Premier Cricket League campaign in Smith’s first year at the helm. Tew entertain Burnham, who also went down, in Saturday’s opener.

We must make sure we don’t crumble this season which we did in too many games last year

Great & Little captain Harry Smith

But Smith has seen the club lose several players before a ball has been bowled. Former captain Andy Harris has joined Tring while batsman Jordan Garrett is required by Gloucestershire to play in a league closer to the club’s base, Liam Manley has joined Horspath and last year’s overseas player Dain Moreton has left with no replacement planned.

Smith said: “Last season certainly wasn’t one I wanted for my first time in charge so hopefully we can put that right this year and get straight back up. We’ve lost a couple of players and haven’t been able to sign an overseas players because of the rule changes.

“That makes it very difficult for a club like us which hasn’t got a big budget. Now a club can only sign a registered pro but we always gave up-and-coming players their chance in England, which was what we could afford.

“It was a shock to see Andy Harris leave and we’ll miss him as a bowler, Jordan Garrett’s involvement with Gloucestershire means he has had to play elsewhere.

“We beat some very good sides last year but lost to teams around us in the table, we were too inconsistent. We need to do better with the bat this time but we’ll be a bit light on the bowling side.

“We’ve got a good enough squad here to get promotion, as long as we can make a good start, that will be key as we don’t want to be playing catch-up. We must make sure we don’t crumble this season which we did in too many games last year.”