Northcote hopeful of further Woolpit progress

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Woolpit captain Andy Northcote believes his new recruits will give his side ‘a bit more bite’ this season.

Ahead of their Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League season opener at home to Copdock & Old Ipswichian tomorrow (11am), Northcote is hopeful of another year of progress at Rectory Lane.

“The aim is to consolidate again and finish higher than we did last season,” said the South Afrian-born Italian international, who teaches at Moreton Hall Preparatory School.

“We’ve made some excellent signings who will give our friendly club a bit more bite.”

South African-born all-rounders Sean Dickson and Michael Rippon have both joined the club, while the experienced Frans Bester has come over from Mildenhall.

And despite losing the services of Julian Crudeli (university) and overseas coach James Godfrey (injury), Northcote is confident Woolpit’s third Premier League season will be successful.

“We had a really good Winter programme, which was probably the best I’ve ever been involved in,” admitted the Woolpit captain.

“With the return of relegation this year the league is going to be very competitive. It’s going to be a great league and hopefully we’ll be able to hold our own.”

Northcote returns to captain Woolpit for a second season, and having led the Suffolk side to eighth place in the Premier League last term, is hoping to using his experience as skipper in 2014 to good effect this year.

“I know all the players a little bit better now and I’d like to think I won’t make the same mistakes twice,” the 32-year-old said. “It’s always tricky knowing which players to pick in each situation.”

n Off the pitch, Woolpit are celebrating acquired a lease on their Rectory Lane ground with a fixture coup, with Northcote set to play with his Italian national side against an invitational XI over two Twenty20 matches on Tuesday, May 2.

As well as securing their immediate future, the new lease will enable Woolpit to go ahead with putting in a planning application to extend their clubhouse.