Chris Esh and Matthew BarnesThe Geraldine Cricket Club will be stronger this year thanks to the arrival of two English imports.

Top order batsmen Matthew Barnes and off-spin bowler Chris Esh responded to an advertisement on website playcricket.com to come to New Zealand.

The 22-year-old Barnes has already spent two seasons in Australia and was keen to come to New Zealand to expand his young coaching career as well as play.

The top order batsman also hopes to make enough of an impression to play representative cricket for South Canterbury.

“I also wanted to see New Zealand and its a chance to escape the winter.”

For 18-year-old Esh it was a bit more of an adventure as it was the first time he had been on an aeroplane.

He to hopes to make an impression with his bowling and work his way up the batting order.

Both played for the same club Ampthill Town Cricket Club in Bedfordshire and will likely debut for Geraldine on the season opener on Saturday.

They will be employed by South Canterbury Cricket to help coach junior cricket but live in Geraldine.

South Canterbury Cricket chairman Harvey King said their arrival was a boost to the province.

“The association and Geraldine have been working together to bring them out and I have to say it’s largely happen because of the hard work of Stephen Pagan and the support from the Geraldine community.”

Last season they had to default a couple of times but thing are looking a lot brighter this season which is great, he said.

King said former South Canterbury representative Andrew Buckingham, plays in the English same league, had helped get them to come out.

“It’s good for Geraldine cricket and good for South Canterbury.”

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