Giles Puckle might be cursing Neil Mander’s charitable intentions, but the Malden Wanderers skipper has promised his men can only get better.

Puckle’s men were relegated from the Surrey Championship Premier Division last summer and have begun life in Division One with back-to-back 50-over defeats.

Wanderers were humbled at Normandy on the season’s opening day and narrowly lost by four-runs at home to Cranleigh on Saturday.

Simon Crampton, Sean Cousins and Michael Cottrell left the club over the summer, while Mander, below, broke his ankle in a charity game of rugby prior to the start of the season.

“We finished where we deserved to last year, but we should’ve done slightly better,” said Puckle last week.

“Losing those players has been a blow. While the others have moved on, losing Neil to injury has been tough. He is an important player for us with bat and ball.

“Neil was playing his first ever game of rugby in a charity event before the season and unfortunately it is not the sort of sport that you can just pick up without any preparation. He’ll be out for a while, but we hope to have him back this year.

“We have not brought in an overseas player, so we are
relying on the second team and players we already have here.

“The second team have been successful over the past few years, so now it is their chance to step up.

“But it is going to take time for them to find their feet and get used to this level.”

Will Sabey claimed 4-36 as  Wanderers restricted Cranleigh to 189-8, and the hosts were well in the race to win  right up until Puckle fell short of being the hero as he was his side’s last man out on 46 with seven balls left.

Malden Wanderers look for their first win at Farnham on Saturday.