TAUNTON Deane have recruited Australian batsman John Rogers to help boost their West of England Premier League challenge.
Deane gained promotion back to the top flight last season and will start their 2014 campaign with a home clash against Bristol on Saturday.
One of their additions to the team is 27-year-old Rogers, who was born in Canberra but now lives in Perth and plays state cricket for Western Australia along with his club side Wanneroo district.
The left-handed top order batter, who also bowls left arm medium pace, has scored 447 First Class runs at an average of 21.28 and played in three KFC Twenty20 Big Bash matches, scoring 45.
Last season for Wanneroo, Rogers scored 429 runs at an average of 33, including two half centuries and one hundred.
Rogers said: “I am very excited, the Australian summer finished on such a high note for me, winning the premier club competition, and my game is in really good order after learning a truck load in my first season of First Class cricket.
“The Deane was an easy choice for me. I have a good relationship with club captain Phil Saxby from my time with Brisbane grade club Valleys.
“Taunton and Somerset was home to Justin Langer for a while and with him now coach at WA, he gave the place a glowing critique.
“So with those two opinions, I knew it would be a good place to not only enjoy my time in England but also work hard on my game in preparation for the next Australian summer.
“It is always hard to put expectations on a season, especially in unfamiliar conditions. Besides enjoying everything that an English summer has to offer on and off the field, I hope to develop the tactical side of my game, make the step from just scoring runs, to ‘creating’ an innings, which I feel is my biggest hurdle to overcome to succeed at First Class level.”
Phil Saxby will lead the team this year after work commitments have stopped former skipper Robert Woodman being able to commit for the full season.
Saxby remained level-headed about the club’s chances this year, saying: “The club is entering into a transitional stage and with this in mind it’s important to be realistic about our goals and expectations.
“Obviously our biggest priority is to stay up, but I feel this is selling ourselves a little short. Once everyone is on deck, a mid table finish would be an achievable and satisfactory result. To do this, we will need our senior players to perform consistently and lead the way.
The team have also signed top order batsman Jack Fraser, from Winscombe, who scored almost 1,000 runs in all competitions last year and took 33 wickets with his off-spinners.