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Mersham Sports hope Indian overseas player Chetan Kurandale will make the difference in promotion bid

Mersham Sports captain Jack Wilson has challenged his team to rewrite the club's history books by winning promotion.

Mersham narrowly missed out on going up two seasons in a row on the final day of last season - despite doing the double over eventual Kent League Division 6 Hurricane champions Ash along the way.

Mersham Sports overseas player Chetan Kurandale.
Mersham Sports overseas player Chetan Kurandale.

They have retained the bulk of their squad for this year's campaign while Indian all-rounder Chetan Kurandale, who spent last season with Folkestone 2nds, has signed and made an immediate impact.

Kurandale smashed four of his first five balls for six as he made 56 off 31 balls on debut against Sevenoaks 3rds on Saturday, a game which Mers won by 152 runs.

In a quirk of the fixture list, he makes his league debut for Mersham against his old club Folkestone on the opening day today.

"We're playing at the highest Kent League level we've ever been at and the club is on a massive high," Wilson said.

"It's been a busy winter. A lot of hard work has gone on building new nets at the club, we've welcomed a brilliant new sponsor in NPS, while the committee have moved to sign an overseas player in Chetan for the first time in years. It's testament to our ambition to drive the club forward.

"We've Chris Jay at Folkestone to massively thank for helping us bring Chetan in and he's been a breath of fresh air in the small time we've had with him since arriving. Hopefully he can continue where he left off at Sevenoaks.

"We ended up disappointed after missing out on promotion last season - especially given we only lost three games all year.

"But we know we've the best batter in the league in Jamie Mcvittie, we've some of the best bowlers in Ashley Cook and James Rand, and we've emerging players like young James Snowden who can change games. Hopefully this time around we can go one better."

While Kurandale's arrival will bolster the middle order, Mersham go into the new season with a change at the top.

Last year's leading league run-scorer Mcvittie will be key to the side getting off to a good start but he'll have a new opening partner after Shineyu Anand's winter departure to St Lawrence and Highland Court.

Wilson said: "While we'll all miss having Shineyu around the place, our priority will always be developing players for bigger things, and we're very proud of that.

"Shineyu's been opening the batting for our first team for the past three years, which sounds a bit mad given he's now only just turned 17.

"He's been in and around the Kent set-up for a few years and he's made the move to test himself at a higher level. We wish him all the best and hopefully he'll be given all the chances there to go on and score a bucketload of runs.

"We’ll do all we can to ensure the next group of highly-talented youngsters get similar opportunities, just like we did with Shinny.”

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