Twickenham skipper Carlos Nunes has warned a fast start is required to give his side a chance of Middlesex County League Premier Division survival this season – but they will have to do it without Clint McCabe.
The 30-year-old all-rounder confirmed last week he will drop down to Surrey Championship Division Three side Old Wimbledonians this summer, having helped Nunes’s side back into the top flight last term.
McCabe, who missed half of last season after suffering a lacerated kidney following an inocuous fall in a pre-season friendly, scored 219 runs in nine innings as Twickenham – relegated in 2011 – won 12 of their 18 league games to lift the Division Two title last summer.
Nunes’s side face Stanmore, Richmond, defending champions Winchmore Hill and Hampstead in the opening weeks of the upcoming campaign – that starts on May 11 – and the captain is clear on his side’s strengths and priorities.
Gone: Ex-Twickenham star Clint McCabe, right SP59072
“The sides that have always been good will be up there, but our season is going to depend on how we pick up points against the struggling teams,” said Nunes, pictured.
“We have three games at the start of the season against teams who will be in the bottom half of the table and we must start stongly to get points on the board.
“That will give us some breathing space when it comes to playing the likes of Teddington, Eastcote and Ealing.
“It is a big step up, but I want our batsmen to go out and play positive cricket. I want players to walk in and bat and not just occupy the crease.
“If we can bat 50 overs we will put 250 runs on the board and we have the bowlers to make chasing that sort of target very difficult.”
Twickenham have retained the services of overseas star Parminda Singh – who took 45 league wickets last season – and have added Acton opening batsman Donavan Fife, Essex Premier League all-rounder Brian Kulasena and former Winchmore Hill captain Adam Howarth to the squad.
And Nunes, who will also be without wicket-keeper batsman Tom Huysinga for the opening weeks of the camapign, is confident that quartet can help overcome the loss of McCabe.
“Clint was very much a part of our plans and has been a big part of what we have been building towards over the past four years,” said the captain.
“It is disappointing he has moved on, but I think he will regret leaving.
“We have brought in some real experience.” Twickenham start their pre-season preparations with a trip to Acton on April 20.