SOUTH Wilts’ bid to land an ECB Southern Electric Premier League championship treble has received a double blow.
They will be without Ryan Burl and Jack Sheppard, two of last season’s championship winning side, for the remainder of the season.
Burl looks set to undergo surgery on the left shoulder he dislocated in a fielding accident during their six-wicket win over Hampshire Academy a fortnight ago.
The game on the Nursery Ground was only a few overs old when the 20-year-old Zimbabwe under 19 all-rounder chased a ball to the point boundary.
But he landed awkwardly on his left shoulder as he made a vain attempt to claw the ball back from crossing the boundary rope.
Burl – also a talented young squash player – is likely to have an operation and his shoulder pinned, thus ending his Premier League season after a matter of overs.
Fortunately, the former Peterhouse talent had finished his coursework at Southampton Solent University, where he is studying for a sports business management degree.
His ex-teammate Sheppard, who now lives in London, has decided to join former Middlesex Premier League c h a m p i o n s Ealing in the hope of reigniting a career in the county game.
He was on a development contract at the Ageas Bowl in 2012, but then released.
Sheppard played for South Wilts for the bulk of last season, taking 16 wickets towards the championship cause.
He made his Ealing debut in the seven-wicket win against Brondesbury, taking 0-24 off five overs.
The loss of Burl and Sheppard is a serious blow to the Bemerton club’s triple title bid.
It will have a significant impact on the club’s target to retain the Southern Electric t20 Cup – Burl, in particular, being a key component in that line-up.
South Wilts' warm-up t20 match against The Army at Bemerton this evening has been cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.