HE'S not making any grandiose statements of intent, but Witham Cricket Club captain Jake Wakelin says his team aren't playing for second spot in this year's Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship.

After an incredible second half to last season when Witham won every one of their 12 games and secured their second top-two finish in the last four years, they will head into the 2019 campaign as one of the favourites for the top prize.

It would be an achievement the club has never managed before, but Wakelin feels they have the strength this year to go all the way.

He is not saying they will claim the title, but does feel they should head into the new campaign with confidence.

"In the last four years we have finished second twice, third and fifth so we are doing it consistently now," he said. "We are a definitely a good division one team and there's nothing that I would love more than to see Witham Cricket Club crowned as Two Counties champions in 22 games time.

"I don't think there would be too many people who would have said that was possible five years ago and it shows how far we have come as a club.

"I really think we are now seen as one of the big sides in this league. "I'm not going to say we're going to win the league because you can make yourself look silly doing that, but we haven't entered this league to not go for the win.

"We finished last year with 12 wins on the bounce and beating every single team in the league in the second half of the season.

"That was pretty impressive, so it would be lovely to pick up where we left off."

Witham kick start their season with a home game against Mistley and will head into it with confidence after a strong display in beating Shepherd Neame Essex League side Harold Wood by five wickets last weekend.

Wakelin and Shaun Bragg both took four wickets and Ollie Cooke struck 61 as they chased down a score of 200.

"It was a good run out for us and shows we are in a good place going into the first game on Saturday," said the Witham skipper.

The club have made a couple of additions to their line-up ahead of the start of the season, with Billy Moulton-Day, who played alongside Wakelin in Minor Counties action for Suffolk last year, has joined from East Anglian Premier League side Sudbury, while Jack Paswey was another player heading over from Sudbury.

Moulton-Day may miss the season's opener against Mistley due to injury, but Pawsey had already shown his potential in making 40 when batting at number three in the game against Harold Wood.

There is also a doubt for the season's opener for Witham's overseas player this year as the club are currently waiting for the paperwork to be finalised on a visa for New Zealander Ken McClure.

The 23-year-old former New Zealand Under-19 player will be working at Witham over the summer as a club coach, which will enable him to play as the first-team's registered overseas player.

Wakelin said the Kiwi was a batsman who could operate as a spin bowler and had been playing first-class cricket for Canterbury at home.

"I definitely think we can have a good go this year," said the Witham skipper.

"The last couple of years have seen us have a great second half so we need to get off to a good start this year and make sure we are winning games early on.

"We are a strong side and I don't think there are many stronger than us, so we should be looking at a title challenge."