VENTNOR Cricket Club have signed Sri Lankan all-rounder Dineth Thimodya as their overseas player as a replacement for last year's star player, Anthony Alleyne.

The Steephill club were unable to benefit again from the services of Barbadian, Alleyne, as he had not qualified for the sports licence required to play cricket in the UK.

Losing Alleyne may have been a blow for Ventnor — promoted to Division 1 of the Southern Premier League — following his consistently superb performances with the bat and ball, finishing top of the batting charts in Division 2 last season.

But they have a ready-made replacement in Dineth, who has signed through agency World Sports Xchange.

Dineth is a 25-year-old all-rounder who has played premier level cricket in the UK the past three seasons — for Colwyn Bay in Wales, Barrow in Cumbria and, last season, Barby in Northamptonshire.

An accomplished left-handed top order batsman and right-handed off-spin bowler, Dineth promises to be a more than able replacement for Alleyne.

His cricket CV includes selection for the Sri Lankan U19 team and the Sri Lanka Emerging Team, together with spells playing domestic cricket for the Galle and Ragama clubs, and the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club.

Dineth, who married Sandali four months ago, has brought his new bride to the Isle of Wight — using their time in Ventnor as a honeymoon.

The couple landed in Heathrow on Friday and were met by Fiona Newnham, Ventnor's first team manager.

Dineth said: "The Isle of Wight is a really fantastic, lovely place and Ventnor play cricket to a good level, so I'm looking forward to the new season.

"I have played a lot of premier cricket in the UK, which is a very good level — particularly in the Liverpool League, which is a really strong league.

"Hopefully, I can share the experience I have gained — not only with the Ventnor team, but also with youngsters. I aim to do some coaching with the juniors."

Dineth said he loves watching movies, going to the gym, fishing and walking — and is particularly looking forward to going on many of the Island's great walks.

He also wants to use playing for Ventnor as a springboard to achieving two of his great cricketing ambitions — to play international cricket for Sri Lanka and in the English County Championship.

Fiona said Dineth is a great addition to the Ventnor first team squad.

"This will be his fourth season playing in the UK. He wanted to come to the UK to try different things at different clubs," said Fiona.

"He checked on us, looked at the pictures of the club and was very impressed by the ground and its facilities."

Ventnor's first game in Division 1 wil be away at New Milton on Saturday, May 7.