Norfolk Alliance champions Brooke bring in new overseas player to try and retain momentum

Brooke celebrate their Premier Division title win last season. Picture: Grant Habershon

Brooke celebrate their Premier Division title win last season. Picture: Grant Habershon - Credit: Archant

Reigning champions Brooke have brought in a first-class player from Zimbabwe ahead of the defence of their Cecil Amey Opticians Norfolk Alliance crown getting into full swing tomorrow.

Brooke celebrated their Premier Division title success at the Norfolk Alliance annual presentation e

Brooke celebrated their Premier Division title success at the Norfolk Alliance annual presentation evening. Picture: Newsmakers - Credit: Archant

Two matches in the Premier Division started the Alliance campaign last weekend, with Fakenham drawing at newly-promoted Horsford seconds and Diss winning with six wickets to spare away to Norwich seconds.

The first full programme sees Brooke begin their title defence at Old Buckenham, who finished fourth last season. The 2016 winners of the top flight have lost head of cricket Mike Jones to Great Witchingham during the off-season but have countered that by bringing in batsman Gary Chirimuuta.

The 25-year-old is a former Zimbabwe Under-17 captain and U19 World Cup representative. Last year he also played for the Zimbabwe development XI and plays first class cricket for Mashonaland Eagles at home.

After opting not to pursue promotion Brooke have had to make changes during the winter but captain John Habershon is feeling optimistic for the campaign ahead.

'It's a shame to see Mike Jones, Tom Nudd and the Porter brothers move on but winning the title last year was a great end for that team, which was mostly the one which also saw us gain promotion from Division One two years ago,' the Brooke skipper said.

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'We're now looking to build a new side to be consistently at the business end of the Premier Division – and also looking to push on into the East Anglian Premier League. We've signed all-rounders Sam Clabburn from Lowestoft and Dan Vihm, who has been in great form pre-season.

'We're also very excited about Gary Chirimuuta joining us as an overseas pro. He had good success in Huddersfield last year and was in fine form at the end of the season in Zimbabwe, where he plays first class cricket for Mashonaland Eagles.'

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Elsewhere in the Premier Division, last year's runners-up Garboldisham host Horsford seconds, fellow new boys Acle host Sprowston, North Runcton start with a trip to Cromer and Fakenham entertain Downham.

Last year's Division Two champions Bradfield begin life in Division One at home to Diss, who came down from the top flight.

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