LECHLADE CC have been dealt a major blow on the eve of the cricket season with the news that their marquee signing, big-hitting South African Juanre van Wyk, will not be joining them after all.

Van Wyk has run into problems with his visa application leaving Lechlade chairman Paul Rowley to look for a replacement overseas player for the second time this spring.

Lechlade had been expecting to field the former West Indies Test cricketer Sylvester Joseph this summer but he too encountered difficulties over his visa and was ruled out.

“Juanre’s visa application was turned down on Wednesday,” revealed Rowley.

“We are not having much luck with our overseas signings but the search for a replacement has already begun.”

Van Wyk, a 25-year-old right-handed batsman, had looked like an exciting signing for ‘the Lechers’.

Familiar with the English game, he had spent the last two seasons playing for Rushden Town CC of the Northamptonshire League – at a higher level than Lechlade play.

Last season alone for Rushden he hit 1,189 runs at an average of 74.

Lechlade CC had a fine 2013 season in the West of England Premier League, narrowly missing out on back-to-back promotions but collecting the County Cup.

The Lechlade first XI team to play their opening match of the Glos/Wilts Division season at Gloucester City Winget on Saturday is: Breet (capt), Burdock, Sellers, Godding, Bowers, Asanka, Dickinson, Higgins, Craigs, Hawkes, Thornley.