CRICKET: Woodhall Spa aiming for winning start to new season against Market Rasen

Woodhall Spa Cricket Club will be aiming to make a winning start to their Lincolnshire ECB Premier League campaign when they entertain Market Rasen at Jubilee Park tomorrow (Saturday).

Skipper Jack Luffman will have the bulk of last season’s title-challenging squad on duty - with the notable exception of Sri Lankan star Prasanna Jayawardene.

Test commitments against England and South Africa mean he has had to pull out of his planned return to Woodhall.

Woodhall have moved quickly to secure the services of his fellow countryman Malinga Bandara - a leg spinning all rounder with Test experience - but he is still waiting for a visa.

Pace bowler Andy Carter - who has been shining for Nottinghamshire this season - is unlikely to be available because of county commitments.

Connor Parsons, Luke Smith, Matthew Sargeant and Ben O’Brien are likely to shoulder most of the bowling duties with player-coach Paul Tumby a spin option.

Australian O’Brien, who is a dual passport holder, is also set to be a key figure in what promises to be a powerful Woodhall batting line-up.

Openers Jonny Cheer and Sam Evison are available after highly successful stints in Australian club cricket this summer.

With O’Brien, Lincolnshire star Sargeant, wicketkeeper-batsman Jack Hughes and Luffman available, Woodhall should not be short of runs.

Woodhall, of course, were pipped for the title on the final day of last season but are playing down their chances of silverware this time around - despite the high profile signings.

They will be strong favourites against league newcomers Market Rasen although Luffman is warning against any complacency.

He said: “They are a strong side. They’ve welcomed back a couple of key players and won their own league last season so it is going to be an interesting start.”