THE new cricket season gets under way in earnest this weekend – and Rowledge have underlined their policy of giving you a chance.

Included in their squad for Saturday’s opener in the newly-designed Southern Premier League Cup is 15-year-old all-rounder Ethan Martin.

Skipper Ben Wish introduced youngsters Ollie Baker, Jonty Sebborn and Will Ryman in recent seasons and said he was delighted to give a first-team debut to Ethan.

“He is a promising all-rounder and has wintered well and it is great to give him an opportunity,” said Wish.

“He has masses of potential, and I see this as a great time to give him experience in and around the first team squad.”

Wish will again combine skippering the side with wicket-keeping duties.

There are a plethora of young all-rounders looking to make an impact, with Joe Randall and Jake Wish supplementing Ryman and Baker.

Nineteen-year-old Baker ended last season with more than 300 runs and was the side’s top wicket taker, showing a great deal of promise.

There is still room for experience with the influential David Lloyd and Ricky Yates hoping to feature prominently, and Wish hopes to have Chris Yates Jnr and last season’s top runscorer Sam Plater available for a few games.

Sparsholt are the visitors for the first match in the Covid-restricted summer campaign, in what promises to be a competitive but very interesting short season.

The 40-over-a-side competition pits the combination of Premier Division and Division 1 sides split into East and West, with Rowledge joined by Sparsholt, Alton, Havant, Hampshire Academy, Portsmouth, Burridge, Sarisbury Athletic and St Cross II.

And Ben is going into the competition in positive mood.

“We are fully aware we are in a tough group but we are going to compete,” he said.

“The lads are desperate to get out on the pitch, and we will be looking to pick up some wins along the way.”

Rowledge are awaiting news on the Southern Premier League T20 competition, and there is still talk of the Village Cup running, despite the rather condensed summer.

However, attention is focused on the Premier/Division 1 East Cup.

All clubs are required to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines set out by the ECB.

Players will be required to sanitise every 20 minutes, not apply saliva to the ball and celebrations will be socially distant.

However, all clubs have required people to do a lot of work behind the scenes, and with the quick turnaround it has been all hands on deck for volunteers at many cricket clubs around the country.

Rowledge are no different with Wish singling out the chairman, Carl Baker.

Ben said: “We are incredibly lucky to have his energy, enthusiasm and pro-active nature. The players are grateful for what he has done, as well as many other volunteers to get the game on.”

Rowledge (v Sparsholt, home, 1pm start) Ben Wish (wk/captain), Chris Yates Jnr, Sam Plater, David Lloyd, Ricky Yates, Joe Randall, Jake Wish, Ollie Baker, Will Ryman, Jonty Sebborn, Ethan Martin.

Alton get their season under way also with a home match, against the Hampshire Academy.

Alton warmed up for the new campaign with inter-club matches at the Jubilee Playing Fields. Match reports are on Page 38.