There's a real pre-season buzz at Old Tauntonians & Romsey following last season's promotion as Southern Premier Division 2 runners-up.

Hampshire's Chris Wood has been appointed coach, with opener Charlie King stepping down as captain and top order batsman and spin bowler Rob Newman taking the armband, writes Mike Vimpany. 

Wood's coaching role has already impacted pre-season training, with healthy attendances at midweek Embley Park school sessions, where the pair have run the sessions.

Chris has been gaining his coaching badges and is studying a degree in Leadership in Sport. 

Wood, who has a white ball Hampshire contract and initially expects to play in the Vitality T20 Blast, has been with OTs & Romsey for the past ten years.

He celebrated his debut with a half-century against Bashley (Rydal) seconds back in May 2015, but as a full-time county cricketer has been a key player in Hampshire's T20 Blast successes, featuring in ten Finals Days and lifting the trophy three times.

Wood said: "This appointment comes as the latest step in a relationship between myself and the club that has strengthened over a number of years. 

"As my playing career comes towards it back end, I’m passionate about strengthening my skills and experience as a coach and Romsey has provided a great environment and opportunity for that to happen. 

"I want to help us cement our place in SPL1 and hopefully beyond in the future, and I know this only happens by working with the whole club and playing group at OTR’s. 

"We’ll work to make the environment competitive with every player having the opportunity to push for a first team place."

OTs & Romsey chairman Stuart Tulk added: "Chris is a terrific addition to our coaching ranks and will add valuable experience and knowledge to our preparations for the season ahead as we look to maintain our position in  Premier Division 1, which is exclusively 50-over white ball cricket. 

"With his extensive experience of white ball cricket having excelled for both Hampshire and London Spirit in various formats we are hopeful of building on the solid foundations built by Charlie King and the previous coaching team.

"We will have to adapt to the new challenges white ball cricket will provide and hope my experience from the professional game, especially in white ball formats will be a help.”

Chris Wood will be present every Saturday where his Hampshire playing schedule allows and on occasions still play. 

Newly promoted OTs launch their SPL1 challenge against Portsmouth at St Helen's, Southsea on May 4, prior to which they are scheduled to host Gosport Borough in an ECB national club championship preliminary round tie on Sunday April 14.

The square at the Romsey Sports Centre had extensive end of season work carried out under a process called 'koroin' - Hampshire assistant groundsman Tom Cowley and Southern Ground Care undertaking the operation with the support of the Test Valley Borough Council.

"The top 20mm of the entire square was removed, the table reseeded and top dressed in preparation for the coming season," Tulk explained.