SKIPPER Richard Morris called on Bashley's new boys to stake their claim for a regular first-team slot and add to his early-season selection headache.
Morris hopes it will be third time lucky when his side travel to Alton tomorrow (1pm) after suffering wash-outs in the first two weeks of the Southern Premier League season.
Influential trio Andy Neal, Simon Ridley and Neil Thurgood are all unavailable with Dorset youngster Sam Thomson, overseas player Jaron Morgan and former Hampshire Academy batsman Michael Porter all set for starts as Bashley begin their top-flight title quest at Jubilee Playing Fields.
But far from being dismayed over his diminished squad, Morris is keen to blood the rookies and promised they would keep their places should they make impressive debuts.
“To be honest it reinvigorates us a bit,” said Morris. “We have so many good quality guys to call upon now and I am very excited about the team we are taking to Alton.
“There is no doubt that if players perform well then they will take possession of the shirt, that is always the case with Bashley sides but particularly with the first team now.
“It is a bigger and, in my opinion, higher quality squad now and that brings its own challenges when it comes to selection. Although we didn't play, the decisions in the first two weeks were not easy but everybody understood.
“By no means is it a closed door for anyone not picked, we have options this year and the type of games, the opposition and the conditions will come into play as the season progresses.
“Realistically, we have a squad of 16 players for top-flight matches and there will always be people disappointed but this is the first opportunity for one or two lads to really nail down a place.”
Bashley: R Morris, Maher, Porter, Lilley, Baker, Friedman, Gilmour, Morgan, Thompson, Nash, Grierson.
- Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Lymington host newly-promoted Burridge (1pm).
Lymington: Hand, Mortimer, Grierson, Scott, Cowley, Rogers, Beetham, Metcalfe, Ellis, Layman, Freeman.
- Ryan Beck had his New Milton players in for extra training last night to try and avoid the inconsistencies of last season.
Milton host Division One new boys Hursley Park tomorrow (12.30pm) in a clash the captain expects his side to win.
“I expect the league to be competitive from top to bottom this season and we will have to be at our best every week to do well,” said Beck.
“We have to win games like this if we want to avoid last year's slip-ups. We lost four or five games we shouldn't have and must look to avoid that this time.”
Milton: R Beck, L Beck, Elliott, J Park, N Park, Watts, Loader, Staniford, Gargaro, House, Edwards.
- Ben Bridgen returns to top Bournemouth's order when the Lions travel to Liphook & Ripsley (12.30pm).
Bournemouth: Bridgen, Hayward, Miller, Schmulian, Russell, Kidner, Singh, Smith, Cronje, Wainwright, Chaudhry.