Former champions South Wilts have gone ‘Dutch’ to sign a top Australian all-rounder, who could have a major influence in this summer’s honours battle in the ECB British Gas Southern Premier League.
They have signed prominent Victoria Premiership Grade cricketer Ian Holland, 26, who enjoyed a superb season in his previous UK summer in 2015, when he scored a hatful of runs and took wickets for Hampshire Second XI, besides playing a lead all-rounder’s role for Fleetwood in the powerful ECB Northern Premier League, writes Mike Vimpany.
Holland, who was making an Easter Saturday debut for South Wilts at Thames Valley League club Falkland, hails from the Ringwood Grade club outside Melbourne, where he made scores of 175 (v Carlton) and 103 (v Melbourne) amid his 469-run tally this past winter.
Bowling right-arm medium-pace, he took 26 wickets, among them an amazing 8-15 haul against Greenvale Kangaroos, the best individual VPL return in 17 years.
He was equally impressive at Fleetwood two summers ago, taking a staggering 63 wickets, including one eight-wicket spree and seven separate five-wicket hauls. His 470 runs helped Fleetwood finish runners-up in the NPL.
Holland will play regularly for Hampshire 2nd XI on a non-contract basis this summer.
With left-hand opener Eddie Abel refinding his taste for cricket and former Hampshire Academy (and Solent University) seamer Ryan Murray joining, South Wilts look capable of challenging Havant all the way as they look to regain the SPL title they won four times in a row until 2016.
Murray missed the whole of last season suffering with shin splints.
South Wilts travel to Potterne next Sunday for an ECB Royal London club championship opener.
Their final pre-season warm-up match will be a white-ball coloured kit affair against the Hampshire Academy at Bemerton on April 29. They host Lymington in their first SPL game on May 6.