Bowlers boost Tomsett ahead of season opener

Eastbourne Cricket Club captain Mark Tomsett believes an improved bowling attack can fire Eastbourne to better things this season.

Tomsett’s men welcome Horsham to the Saffrons tomorrow (Saturday, 12.30pm) for their opening match in the Sussex Premier League.

Eastbourne had a disappointing year last season finishing third from bottom and only just preserved their status in the top tier of amateur cricket in Sussex.

The skipper admits commitment levels were an issue and following a ‘clear the air’ end-of-season debrief Tomsett feels his new-look squad can compete against the top sides.

In an attempt to bolster the bowling attack in comes 6ft4in pace merchant Stuart Playford who signed from Seaford. Experienced seamer Richard Smith returns from his travels and will complement the left-arm seam bowling of Adam Brawn. Former Sussex professional James Kirtley has expressed an interest in joining his old club for the season and Eastbourne’s overseas signing will be New Zealand pace bowler Josh Presland.

An upbeat Tomsett said, “We felt we needed to strengthen in the bowling department and we believe we have done so. We have got strength and depth and some good variation.

“You don’t win games unless you bowl teams out. We did not do that enough last season.”

The return of Kirtley will be a boost for Eastbourne and he will be expected to line-up against Horsham tomorrow.

Unfortunately for Tomsett new signing Playford will be unavailable for four to six weeks after breaking his hand during a catching practice session.

Tomsett added, “James (Kirtley) said he was keen to play around his business commitments. If we can get the logistics organised then it will be a huge bonus to have him.”

Young prospect Callum Jackson, who has been performing well for Sussex seconds as a wicket-keeper batsman, is expected to feature heavily this season.

Tomsett said, “He has a great future ahead of him. We hope to have him available around his school commitments.

“He could be a big player for us this season and he will bat high up the order when he’s involved.

“Our batting line-up is inexperienced and we will have to fight and work hard for every run. But the club is in a good place, the team spirit is good and we are looking forward to the season.”