SOUTH Wilts’ cricketers are busy preparing for the new season which begins on Saturday, April 15 with a visit to Newbury-based Home Counties Premier League club Falkland.

The following weekend, South Wilts will get their first taste of white ball cricket, which has been introduced into the 50-over format of the ECB Southern Premier League this season.

South Wilts will entertain the Hampshire Academy in a dress rehearsal at Lower Bemerton before travelling to Potterne for the Royal London ECB national club championship the following day, Sunday April 23.

They will go to Corsham on April 29 before hosting Lymington in the opening round of SPL fixtures on May 5, reports cricket writer Mike Vimpany.

All-rounder James Hibberd, who will captain the Bemerton club this summer as he takes the reins from James Hayward, is satisfied with the way pre-season preparations have gone.

“Attendance at net practice sessions have been good. Preparation has gone well and, like always, our planning has been well thought out,” said Hibberd, whose troops will be looking to improve on last season’s fourth place finish.

“We have been working on our strengths and the areas of our game we didn’t quite get right last season.

“Everyone knows there are places up for grabs and opportunities if the players want it enough.”

Former Hampshire Academy seamer Ryan Murray, who missed last season because of shin splints, is a prospective newcomer to South Wilts’ ranks.

Meanwhile, Rob Pittman will captain South Wilts seconds in Premier Division 2.