HEATHCOAT have snapped-up South African pace bowler Malcolm Cloete as their overseas player for the Premier season ahead.
Cloete, 27, has been taking plenty of wickets for Milnerton in the Western Province Cricket Association Premier League. His 23 wickets at 18.63 was the best return in the club last season.
Cloete comes highly recommended by Heathcoat’s Devon batsman Jack Dart, who has been out in Cape Town during the UK winter playing with Milnerton.
He is no stranger to British conditions having spent the 2013 summer with Cromer in the Norfolk Alliance Premier League.
“Malcolm will open the bowling for us and bat at six or seven,” said Heathcoat captain Peter Randerson.
Dart should hit the ground running for Heathcoat after a winter overseas, and so should opening batsman Reid Mawdsley, who has been playing for Hawera United in New Zealand.
Heathcoat, who finished who finished five points above the relegation places in the Premier Division last season, have been busy recruiting over the winter.
Joe duGay, Devon’s under-15 captain and an opening batsman, has switched from Exeter. Playing for Heathcoat is more convenient for the Blundell’s School student.
Dylan Penberthy-Hutchings, who barely featured last season, has returned from South Africa to stake a claim for a place in the top order.
Heathcoat hope to see something of left-arm seamer Gwillam Crouch, when he returns from his travels in the Far East.
“Gwillam came to four indoor nets before he went and seems pretty keen to play, when he gets back,” said Randerson.
Gone from last year are Tom Sturgess – he has signed for Penzance after finishing his studies at Wellington School – and probably former captain Sam Smith.
“Sam has lived in Bristol for a while now and I can’t see him travelling down to play,” said Randerson.
Heathcoat may have under performed last season, but hope springs eternal in Randerson’s breast.
“At this time of year ask any side what they are aiming for and it’s a given they will say they want to win the league,” said Randerson.
“I thin we have to be realistic. Let’s see if we can start the season well with a few wins and see where that takes us.”