AMBITIOUS Richard Morris wants to see Bashley take the next step in their cricketing journey in 2014 and continue the club’s upward curve.

The New Forest side secured third place in the Southern League’s top-flight last season, with only South Wilts and Havant finishing higher in the standings.

The likes of Australian under-19 international Jaron Morgan and Berkshire’s James Morris were added to the ranks over the winter and Bashley Road skipper Morris – James’s brother – is hoping that a bolstered squad can experience further success.

He told the Daily Echo: “In 2011 we finished ninth in the league, so to have finished in the top three and won the T20 Cup in the past two seasons was real progress.

“It’s only a step in the right direction because ultimately we want to finish at the top. That’s going to take a lot of hard work and I guess that all starts this week.

“We’ve got some tough fixtures at the front end of the season and having identified the fact we were going to have to start quickly, we’ve been doing double training sessions and extra sessions.

“If we keep up the standards that we’ve shown for the past couple of months, we’re going to have another good summer, but what that will mean come August or September, I couldn’t tell you.”

Bashley open their Premier Division campaign at home to local rivals Lymington tomorrow (1pm), in what promises to be a fiercely-contested curtain-raiser.

Morris added: “In recent times we’ve had the edge but they have got some very dangerous players who are proven match-winners at this level.

“We will give them full respect and we know that we need to be at the top of our game to win.”

Simon Beetham, in his first season as Lymo skipper, admitted a derby was the ideal way to kick off the 2014 season.

He said: “It’s always a good game against Bashley and we have a couple of new faces on board so it will be good for them to see what it’s all about.

“There’s always an expectation to do well in the league but really the expectation is to keep improving and building on what we’ve done in previous years.

“We are looking to head towards the top end of the table.”

Bashley: (from) R Morris, Thurgood, Porter, Neal, J Morris, Friedman, Ridley, Morgan, Thomson, Nash, R Grierson.

Lymington: (from) Beetham, Ellis, Mortimer, Cowley, Metcalfe, Rogers, Scott, Hand, Grierson, Freeman, McCann.