Kimberley Institute’s 1st XI get their 2012 Notts Premier League season underway on Saturday with a trip to face the much-vaunted West Indian Cavaliers at Birchover Park.
After finishing fifth for the past two seasons, Kimberley have recruited several new players over the winter in the hope of moving up the table and mounting a challenge for the NPL title.
The calibre of the new signings certainly shows the club’s ambition with former Derbyshire opening batsman Dan Birch, in what was undoubtedly the coup of the off-season, joining from rivals Clifton in the role of player/coach.
In the bowling department seamer Simon Roberts, regarded as one of the best amateur players in the league, joins from Papplewick & Linby and off-spinner Suroop Singh Kandola has joined from Ellerslie.
The club have also retained the services of former Notts player Akhil Patel who weighed in with over 500 runs and 30 wickets last season and it’s hoped he can match, and indeed better, that record over the coming months.
The new recruits join a squad where several youngsters have already established themselves in the first team with more pushing for an opportunity, and when they are added to a stable core of players captain Sam Ogrizovic, now in his third season with the club, is certainly going to have some selection headaches over the summer.
Nevertheless he is excited for the coming season.
He said: “After two steady years the team’s now ready to step up a level and signing people like Dan and Simon, and the added competition for places that brings, is really going to help us progress.
“We don’t have the financial clout that some other teams possess, but when players of their ability want to join us it’s a testament to Kimberley’s reputation as a great place to play cricket.
“Facing the Cavaliers on their home-patch is a tough prospect for the first game up but I’m really looking forward to getting the season started in style.”