Eastbourne’s top order ready to fire ahead of Sussex Premier League opener

Eastbourne skipper Mark Tomsett

Eastbourne skipper Mark Tomsett

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Eastbourne Cricket Club’s top order batsmen look to be in fine fettle as they prepare for the Sussex Premier League season opener at Roffey tomorrow (Saturday).

Two tremendous results last weekend increased first team morale ahead of their return to the Premier following last season’s promotion.

England under-19 and Sussex cricketer Callum Jackson cracked a rapid 102 from 67 balls against Portslade as they cruised into round two of the Gray-Nicolls Twenty20 Cup.

On Sunday club captain and opening batsman Mark Tomsett showed he will be a force once again in 2014 with a match-winning 96 not out at Blackheath in the ECB National Cup first round.

Tomsett will open the batting along with Toby Finzel and Jackson, who is expected to be available reguarly around his Sussex commitments this season, is pencilled in at number three.

Finzel was in brilliant form during Eastbourne’s title-winning run last year. He scored four 50s and three centuries at an average of 57.07 and an impressive strike rate of 88.7.

This year he will be up against stronger bowling attacks but Tomsett has no worries about the strength of his top order.

“We look strong in that area this season. Callum’s school commitments have finished so he will be available to us more often than not. He will be coming in at number three and that will be a good test for him this season.

“Toby and I will open. We have both played at this level and I’m sure we can have fun this year and set some good targets.

“There is no pressure on us this season. We did well last year to gain promotion and we have kept the nucleus of that side together.

“There are no expectations, all the pressure will be on the other sides we play against. If we finish third from bottom this season then that will be a successful year.

“We will work hard, give it our best and see where that takes us. At the end of the day we are a bunch of mates playing cricket together and we want to enjoy that.”

Last year Eastbourne reached the last 32 of the National Cup and the final of the T20 competition. While Tomsett accepts the cup runs are good for morale the main focus will be the league.

“League is the number one, then the T20 then I’d say the National Cup. We had a great run in the National last year and obviously it would be great to repeat that. We also got into the T20 final at Hove. It would be nice to go one better and you could say we have unfinished business there.”

Spinner Zane Hartley from New Zealand is this year’s overseas player while Jersey international Luke Gallichan has also signed.

All-rounder Dominic Shepheard has joined from Glynde and Chris Borsoi has returned froim his travels in Australia and is pushing for a first team start.

Left arm spinner Joe Barnett is in contention having impressed the skipper in the nets.

Luke Tomsett is also fit again having recovered from a shoulder problem that restricted his appearances last season.

See pages 94 & 95 for full Sussex League preview