OXFORD have signed New Zealander Mark Beer as their overseas player for this season.
The 27-year-old all-rounder, who plays for Metropolitan Tigers and Southland, is due to join up with the Serious Cricket Home Counties Premier League club early next month.
Rupert Evans, Oxford’s director of cricket and new chairman, having succeeded Joe Porter, is looking forward to Beer’s arrival.
He said: “Last year we didn’t have an overseas player, but felt we wanted to go for it this time.
“Hopefully, Mark can get us a bit fitter as well as he is a strength and conditioning coach.”
After a decade playing in Southland, Beer is looking forward to lining up with for a new team and against different opposition.
Despite heading straight from one season to another in England without a break, he is excited by the challenge.
“You’re starting from scratch,” he said. “When you play the same people for so long they know a bit about you, but when you play someone that knows nothing about you you’ve sort of got to prove yourself again, which is a new challenge. It’s exciting.”
By coincidence, Beer will be teaming up at Oxford with another former Metropolitan, Southland and Southland Boys’ High School player, Brad Sutherland.
“It’s just an absolute fluke we’re at the same place because it was obviously organised with a third party agent – it’s a small world really,” he said.
Beer has a reputation of winding up opposition and enjoying the verbal banter, which threw him a bit when he was doing some research on Oxford.
“They’ve actually won the conduct cup (for good behaviour) for like the last five years in a row, so I might have to chill out a wee bit,” he joked.
But before he arrives in Oxford, he has one big game left for Southland this weekend in their three-day Hawke Cup challenge against holders Manawatu.
And he hinted that he’s got his sights on a lengthy stay in this country.
“I don’t want to rule out returning, but it’s highly likely it will be my last game,” he said.
“You don’t want to say never though, I might be back one day.”