SPARSHOLT have signed exciting Australian teenage prospect Joe Merlino as their overseas player for the upcoming Southern Premier League Division 3 cricket season.

The 18-year old top order batsman and wicket keeper plays for Cardiff Boolaroo in the Newcastle & District premier competition in Northern New South Wales, where he has achieved representative honours this winter.

The Winchester village club will be looking to Merlino to buck a losing trend after back-to-back relegation has seen them drop into the fourth tier of Southern Premier League cricket and lose players in the process. They have been proactive on the recruitment front with several youngsters joining the Locks Lane outfit.

Sparsholt open their SPL3 programme at Parley on May 4, prior to which they host Hambledon in Village Cup first round.