Play with a smile

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Eastbourne Cricket Club captain Mark Tomsett has a simple message for his players ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Three Bridges – work hard but enjoy it.

The skipper is determined to avoid a repeat of last season where relegation worries and player availability meant the campaign at times became a chore for the players rather than enjoyment.

Speaking after their thrilling opening day defeat against Horsham at the Saffrons last week, where Tomsett rattled off an unbeaten 181 but still ended up on the losing side, he said, “We all have full-time jobs and work hard away from cricket so we want to enjoy it when we do play.

“At times last season was not fun. We were battling relegation and we were all under pressure and I think that affected the team spirit.”

The club were keen to boost morale ahead of their 2011 campaign and enjoyed a pre-season tour to Birmingham.

Tomsett said, “It was important for us to get away for a bit of a team bonding exercise.

“The results were not great but the main thing was that we all got together and really gelled as a team.

“I think we saw that against Horsham.

“Although we ended up losing the game the spirit remained good and I was pleased with how the team performed.

Three Bridges will likely pose another stern test of Tomsett’s new-look side. The hosts will be keen to make amends for a low-scoring opening day defeat against defending champions Preston Nomads.

This year Eastbourne are coached by Alan Wells and his son Dan could be called into the first team to make his Eastbourne debut.

Young wicket keeper batsman Callum Jackson could also make his first appearance of the season after missing the Horsham match.

Overseas player Josh Presland is set to retain his place in the side after impressing Tomsett with a wholehearted debut performance.

The Kiwi right arm pace bowler steamed in for 12 overs last week and was rewarded with the wicket of Horsham’s keeper Matt Simpson.

Tomsett added, “Josh should be a good player for us this season. He reminds me of last year’s overseas player Jaco Nel. He has good pace and always gives 100 per cent.”

Pace bowler Stuart Pulford continues to recover from a broken hand and is likely to be out for a month.

Batsman Darren Cumming continues his rehabilitation from a calf injury but Saturday’s match could arrive too soon for the reliable run-getter. Veteran bowler James Kirtley is unavailable for selection.