KIDDERMINSTER Victoria have opted to add some experience to bolster their squad ahead of the Birmingham and District League Premier Division campaign this summer.

In a bid to ensure KVCC build on last season’s seventh-place finish, the club have brought in prolific Shifnal batsman James Ralph.

He returns to the club he started his playing career after nearly a decade playing for sides in Shropshire.

Worcestershire bowler Imran Arif, 24, has been allocated to the club from Worcestershire.

The Pakistan paceman took 22 first class wickets for them last season and will be eager to impress at KVCC in order to catch the county side’s eye.

KVCC have also brought in Worcestershire academy player Matt Pardoe, who played for Halesowen last season.

With last season's wicketkeeper Joshua Knappett opting to play his club cricket down south, former Himley gloveman John Smith and Dave Wardle will be battling for a first team place.

New Zealander Kevin Forde, who played for the club in 2007, is also going to be the club’s overseas player this season.

First team manager Ian Kimberlin said: “Whilst there maybe more new faces added to the squad, the new signings do not represent a shift in the policy to give home grown young players a chance at first team level.

“Myself and Johnathan Wright, who will skipper the team again in 2009, looked at last year’s performances and felt we fell away a little towards the end of the season when our lack of experience was exposed.

Extra depth “But the new signings will give the squad extra depth and when aligned to the talent we already have we are very optimistic about the coming campaign.”

Kimberlin felt the first team could improve on their mid-table finish.

“We’re positive we can do well because we’ve added some good players. I think we should be aiming for a top five finish.”

n KVCC get the season started in the Graham Williamson Trophy away at Walmley on Saturday, April 18.

The league commences with a trip to Moseley on Saturday, May 2.