JJ set to follow in footsteps of de Wet and Hartley
Chorley players farewell Friedel de Wet in 2008
Chorley CC have a new professional for 2010 with the highly rated South African all-rounder JJ Smuts set to join up with the Windsor Park outfit for their centenary season.
Smuts' English agent Gary Hunt and Chorley CC official John Hotham shook hands on a deal this week as Chorley look to celebrate 100 years of cricket at Windsor Park with a tilt at their third Northern League title after finishing third in 2009.
Smuts opens the batting for Eastern Province and is on the verge of the Warriors franchise side after three impressive seasons in first-class cricket.
The 21-year-old from Grahamstown, Cape Province is a right-handed opening batsman who also bowls slow left arm.
A member of the South Africa U19s team in the 2008 World Cup in Malaysia
Smuts has made 1,319 first-class runs at an average of 32.17 and taken 24 wickets at 31.50. He has hit one first-class and two List A centuries.
Smuts was in top form as Eastern Province completed an eight wickets win over Griqualand West in Port Elizabeth recently, scoring 61 and 75 and taking five wickets in the match.
He follows fellow countryman Friedel de Wet who made a big impression as Chorley pro in 2008.
Chris Hartley- Chorley's 2009 professional
In 2009 Queensland wicket-keeper Chris Hartley impressed as the Chorley paid-man and topped the league batting averages but was unable to return for a second spell due to commitments back home.
Hartley, incidentally, has been in top form with the bat since his return and in Queensland's recent innings victory over Tasmania in Brisbane shared a fifth wicket stand of 176 with Netherfield's 2009 professional Glen Batticciotto.
Hartley hit 85 while Batticciotto went on reach his maiden first-class hundred in only his second first-class appearance before being dismissed for 101.
Hartley has already hit five half centuries for Queensland in List A and Sheffield Shield cricket in 2009-10 as he pushes his claims for a place in the Test side.
Smuts will also boost Chorley's Twenty20 challenge in 2010
Smuts, meanwhile, will join up with Chorley in April and his bowling skills will supplement an impressive amateur attack in which Billy Smith, Jimmy Lee, Rex Purnell, Ian Oakes and Matthew Parry all played major parts in 2009.
Chorley are pushing ahead with plans to mark the centenary of the first-ever game at the ground in May 2010. The current First XI is lined up to play a Roland Horridge XI in the celebration match.
Horridge was Chorley's most successful captain, leading the side to three successive Lord's appearances between 1994 and 1996 in the National Club Knock-Out competition, two of which ended victorious.
Chorley CC line up for the camera in 2009