Somerset Visually Impaired Cricket Club will begin their 2018 campaign on Saturday with a trip to newly-promoted Kent, which will be a leap into the unknown for the men and women from the southwest. Not just because this will be the first match between the two teams, this will also be Somerset’s first match under new leadership.
Over the winter Rob Crisp stood down as captain after two successful years after graduating and moving away from the southwest. 26-cap England international and previous vice-captain Ed Hossell has been voted in as his replacement. The 24-year-old all-rounder will be supported by wicket-keeper Heidi Linegar who is the new vice-captain.
The pair will be looking to build on two fourth-placed finishes in the last two years in the eight-team National League, although London Metro, Sussex and last year’s winners Warwickshire will provide stiff opposition. In the British Blind Sport Cup, which is 30 overs per side, Somerset have been drawn at home to Surrey, who compete in the Regional league, with a home match against Sussex in the quarter-finals the prize for the winner. In the Twenty20 Cup, the 2014 winners face a tough home tie against Warwickshire.
Speaking on the back of a successful winter’s training supported by the Somerset Cricket Board, Hossell said: “We are all really looking forward to the start of the season, some great work has been put in over the winter and I’m excited to see the benefit of that. On a personal note, I’m honoured to be chosen as the next captain. I’ve really enjoyed my brief experiences of captaincy so I’m looking forward to bringing that enthusiasm to the role this season.”
Reflecting on his two years in charge, which saw Somerset achieve their highest number of points in consecutive years in the league and reach the BBS Cup final, Crisp added: “It was an absolute honour and a privilege to captain the county, especially when the team made it so easy for me. Now I’ve graduated and moved to the southeast I don’t have the time to give the role the 100% commitment which is required, but I’m very excited to play under Ed [Hossell] and to be back in the ranks.”