Paignton sign Western Province opener

PAIGNTON have added some batting firepower to their line up for the season ahead with two new signings.

Zubayr Hamza, a forceful early order batsman who bowls a bit of leg-spin, is coming over from South Africa.

Hamza has come up through the Western Province youth system and captained the U19 side last season.

He made his First Class debut against Kwazulu Natal earlier this year and has also appeared against Eastern Province, against whom he made a top score of 94.

Paignton’s second signing is left-hander Michael Cousens, who was once a rising star in the Devon firmament.

Cousens was playing for Tavistock when he first played for Devon at U10 level and was soon talent spotted after topping the batting averages four years running at U11, U12, U13 and U14. He captained the side too.

Cousens (left) took a ton of Gwent at Plympton in the U12s.

Cousens went to the Bunbury Festival in 2010 – a well-known proving ground for future professionals – before enrolling at Harrow School.

He switched to Surrey in 2011 and played ahead of his age group at U17 and U19 level.

In 2011 Cousens played at Lord’s for Harrow against Eton and top scored for the school with 61 in a six-wicket defeat. He played in the same match in 2012 and 2013, making 26 and 47 respectively.

Cousens appeared in two England U17 Development games in 2011 and was Surrey U17 regular throughout 2012.

Paignton have languished in the A Division since they were relegated from the top flight without a win to their name in 2011.

Skipper Connor Bryan is looking to change the club’s fortunes this season.

“We were third last season and really want to go one better this year,” said Bryan.

“The squad is a lot stronger and that will mean competition for places, which is definitely a good thing.

“As well as the players we have signed, I am looking at Noah Wright and Connor Ashworth to really press hard for places this year.

“With who we have and what we are capable of we should push for promotion.”

FORMER Paignton, Brixham and Torquay all-rounder Mark Gilmour, who missed most of last season with a broken finger, has been appointed captain at B Division Stoke Gabriel for the season ahead.





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