Hartlepool Cricket Club have signed Durham wicket-keeper/batsman Phil Mustard.
It’s something of a coup for the Park Drive club, who this week lost the services of pro Shani Dissanayke.
The club was shocked when border control refused him entry, effectively asking Hartlepool why they cannot find somebody English to do the same job.
This has meant that the loveable Sri Lankan appears to have played his last game in the NYSD league, having spent over 10 years playing in the North East.
But the club have moved quickly to snap up Wearsider Mustard.
The 33-year-old has lost his place behind the stumps at Durham to Michael Richardson, but with his explosive batting should be a big hit in the NYSD.
He is already in great form, hitting a 131-ball 166, with six sixes and 23 fours, for Durham second yesterday against Scotland.
Mustard will replace last year’s professional John Rickard, who is unavailable due to work commitments.
Pool will once again attempt to start their Premier league campaign on Saturday when they travel to Normanby Hall.
Last weekend, Pool opted to take advantage of a ruling by the league to re-arrange their home tie with Darlington as the inclement weather had made the playing surface at Park Drive unplayable.
It was a good job they did take that option, and snow and sleet flurries last Saturday morning would not have been conducive to positive cricket!
John Watson and Neil Coverdale will occupy top spots in the order, with Alan Tebbett, James Piper and Lewis Stabler making up the rest of the middle order.
With the ball, skipper Chris Harrison will have a lot of options at his disposal, although the economy and threat of Dissanayke will obviously pose a problem for Pool.
Stabler and Callum Prosser provide Pool with arguably one of the best opening bowling combinations in the league, and both will want to expose any floors in the batsmens’s early season technique and grab their first wickets.
Harrison will also be able to call upon Jonathan Carson, the Aussie amateur, to turn the game on its head with his spin, whilst he also has the luxury of having the variety of John Watson and himself to take advantage of some damp early season surfaces.
John Rickard may also have to contribute will the ball a little more this year, something which he did in his first season with great success but then has seemed reluctant to get his tweakers out of his bag since.
Normanby Hall are a much changed side since last year.
A number of players have moved on, a feature of the league clubs this year, with many opting to switch clubs and show little commitment.
Hall will be hoping that their change in personnel will help push them up the league, having flirted with relegation them up the league standings.