By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
ABBOTSKERSWELL have signed three new players ahead of another season in the Tolchards Devon League A Division.
Abbots were bottom of the table at the halfway stage in 2019, but won four of their last eight games to clamber out of the relegation places.
For their third season in the A Division following a rapid rise from C Division cricket in two successive seasons, Abbots have recruited an out-and-out bowler, and quickie who can bat and a wicket-taking batsman with four Premier level tons to his name.
Alex Gooding is the wicket-taking batsman on Abbot’s playing roster for the season ahead. He is a level-two coach.
Gooding was born in Ipswich and went through the Suffolk youth system up to under-17 level. He played league cricket for Ipswich, and also Clacton, before moving to live and work in New Zealand.
He scored his tons for Ipswich while taking 300 wickets with brisk medium pace.
During seven years living on New Zealand’s North Island, Gooding his been clocking up the runs and knocking over the wickets at club level for New World Te Puke and current club Mount Maunganui.
Looming landmarks for Gooding with Mount Maunganui are 200 Premier wickets and 2,000 Premier runs.
Gooding has played regional cricket – one level below the First Class game – for Bay of Plenty (2016-18) and Poverty Bay (2019-). Away from the cricket pitch he is a primary school teacher.
Dan Hamshaw, a change bowler and middle-order bat, is coming over from new South Wales in Australia to play for Abbots.
Hamshaw plays first grade for the Marist Brothers Lismore club in the Far North Coast competition. His career record is 188 wickets in 166 outings at all levels since his debut in the fourth-grade side back in 2010.
Hamshaw has never played in this country before, but brother Luke has. He played a handful of games for Barton while on holiday in the UK.
Abbotskerswell’s third signing for the summer ahead is quick bowler Carl Woolnough, who has transferred from C Division West side Shaldon Optimists.
Woolnough took his 100th league wicket for Shaldon towards the end of last season, his tenth with the club.
Apart from a three-match spell with Paignton in 2016, Woolnough has been a one-club player from his mid-teens.
In the last three seasons Woolnough has bagged 74 wickets at an average below 18. Last summer was his best yet with 30 scalps including six for 28 against Ashburton.
Thirteen trips to the crease produced more than 200 runs with a top score of 51 against Kingsbridge.
All three signings have been welcomed by first team skipper Nick Watkin, who has not ruled out further squad strengthening before the season starts in May.
Alex already has extensive experience of cricket in English conditions, which should enable him to come in and hit the ground running,” said Watkin.
“Carl Woolnough is someone I've tried to get on board for two seasons and I know he will make the step up to A Division cricket seamlessly.
“I am looking for Carl to contribute significantly in the 1st XI next season with both runs and wickets.
"Dan Hamshaw is a friend of Ian Jarman and comes highly recommended by Ian. He is likely to start in the 2nd XI but will provide competition for places in the first team.
“I am still hoping to bring one or two more players in.”
Todd Ballman, the Shaldon captain, said: "Carl will be a big loss for us but we are working on a few incomings, although nothing is confirmed yet."