Marko target top four

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League cricket in Rutland is due to begin on Sunday with home and away matches for Market Overton.

Marko’s first team are waiting for confirmation from their hosts King’s Keys that a venue is ready, but this no problem for the Rutlanders’ 2nd XI who will host Nassington 2nd XI.

First team captain Paul Thwaites said Marko’s pitch has weathered the elements well and is ready for the opening day of the season.

“For two and a half weeks we have had nothing but sunshine and wind and I cannot believe how dry the pitch is,” said Thwaites who has resumed the captaincy this year.

“I missed being captain,” he said. “It gets me in the mood and I feel like I have my mojo back.

“The club is in the best state it has been for 20 years or so. We just need a few extra players as we have lost one or two more experienced lads.”

Marko will be up against fellow Rutland sides Oakham and Uppingham in division two of the Rutland League - the top flight no longer features any sides from the county - and Thwaites is planning for a year of consolidation.

Former player Dylan Ross is expected to make a return with Syston’s all-rounder Tom Corbett also in Marko’s squad.

The Marko skipper added: “I would like to think we could be in the top four. I think Uppingham will win it with Market Deeping up there.”

Sunday’s second team match is due to start at 1.30pm, while the first team, once a venue is confirmed, start at 1pm.

Uppingham, Ketton and Barrowden are all due to begin on April 21.

Oakham are due to play Oakham School on Sunday.