NEW Milton skipper Ryan Beck has hailed the impact of ex-Bournemouth trio Nick Park, James Park and Mark House ahead of a reunion with their former club.
The Park brothers and House joined the Green & Golds last season following the gradual break-up of Bournemouth’s all-conquering Cockspur Cup-winning team of 2009.
Bournemouth, who regularly locked horns with Milton in the old Southern League, tomorrow meet the unbeaten Division One leaders for the first time since the competition was reorganised 14 years ago.
The Lions head to Fernhill on the back to two successive wins, while Beck’s men boast a 100 per cent winning record having skittled their past three opponents for 47, 99 and 63 (1pm start).
Beck told the Daily Echo: “The Bournemouth old boys have been a massive plus to our club in every department. They are top blokes, they train every week, work hard and support club functions. You can’t ask for any more.
“They have all been superb from the day they arrived and would be an asset to any club in the top two divisions. They left Bournemouth for their own reasons and have certainly benefited us.
“I am sure they are all looking forward to facing their former club, even if Bournemouth have a much-changed side from when they were there.
“I hear some Bournemouth players are attending a stag-do and we have a couple missing as well so it is a shame neither of us will be at full strength. But whether we are playing Bournemouth or Fawley, we still want to win and I am sure it will be the same for them.”
Milton’s impressive start to the campaign has been due largely to the form of young bowlers Nick Elliott and George Watts. Elliott, 20, has snapped up 11 wickets at an economy rate of around one, while 17-year-old Watts has snared seven victims.
Beck added: “If there is a better bowler in the league than Nick then someone needs to tell me because he has been bowling out of his skin. George backs him up week in, week out and that is without mentioning people like Dan Loader, Lee Beck and Nick Gargaro.
“The two young lads have been excellent. Nick has gained experience over the past few years and isn’t trying to bowl a magic ball every ball. He is bowling for the team and everybody is reaping the rewards.”
Beck believes Milton are better equipped to sustain a promotion push this season due to added strength in depth with former Dorset all-rounder Ben Lawes a useful addition to their squad.
Their credentials will be tested over the next few weeks with the visit of Bournemouth followed by a trip to favourites Basingstoke & North Hants. Milton also host fourth-placed Andover at the start of July.
Mike Kitson returns for Bournemouth with Andy Hayward unavailable.
New Milton: R Beck, L Beck, N Park, J Park, Lawes, Collison, House, Edwards, Watts, Elliott, Loader, Gargaro.
Bournemouth: Miller, Kitson, Hurley, Schmulian, Kidner, G Singh, Russell, Matthews, Stevens, Cronje, A Singh.
- Matt Metcalfe and Ben Rogers, who both attended the Isle of Wight Festival last week, return for Lymington’s clash against Premier Division leaders Havant at the Sports Ground, while injury victim Kevin Nash is ruled out of Bashley’s trip to Hampshire Academy (both 11.30am).
Lymington: Beetham, Mortimer, Hand, C Grierson, Scott, Cowley, Ellis, McCann, Freeman, Metcalfe, Rogers.
Bashley: R Morris, Thurgood, Porter, Morgan, Baker, Thomson, Neal, Gilmour, Friedman, R Grierson, Lilley.