CRICKET: Hadleigh & Thundersley skipper Sam Handley is looking to keep the pressure off his side this season.

Hadleigh finished sixth in the Premier Division of the Essex League last term.

And while Handley is excited to be getting underway again this weekend he will not be looking too far ahead.

“We are really looking forward to it,” said Handley.

“The club has been hard at work over the winter renovating the clubrooms and building new net facilities.

“We are looking forward to getting down the club this weekend and getting back into the swing of things.

“But I’m not trying to put too much pressure on us as a group this year we have a couple of really promising young players coming through so the idea will be to take every game as it comes.

“We know when we are at our best we can beat anyone in the league but also after winning the league cup last season we will enjoy our chance at trying to defend that too.”

Hadleigh have strengthened their squad with two new arrivals this summer.

And Handley is happy to have both Nick Gibb and Billy Corps on board.

“We’ve got a couple of new additions,” said Handley.

“Nick is our New Zealand overseas all rounder from Christchurch and I’m hoping after settling in brilliantly he can really push us on as a group.

“Billy is a really promising young talent who we have really high hopes for.

“I hope we can progress his cricket forward this season”

Hadleigh get underway against Chingford at their John Burrows base this weekend.

And Handley is expecting an entertaining opening contest.

“I’m expecting a good game,” said Handley.

“We normally have a good battle against Chingford.

“I think it will be two fairly young teams different to in previous years but it’s our first league game since we won the cup so I’m expecting a good atmosphere up the club.”

In Division One, Billericay kick off their campaign at home to Fives and Heronians while in Division Two. Old Southendian & Southchurch head to Horndon for their first fixture.

Elsewhere, Westcliff are at home to Woodford Wells.

In Division Three, Leigh go to Harlow and Benfleet go to Newham while Wickford are at home to Hornchurch Athletic.

In Division Four, Southend & EMT are at home to Frenford.