MOST Mid Cheshire clubs are padding up for the first time this weekend as the Meller Braggins and Cheshire Alliance seasons get under way.
The Chronicle will be reporting on the highs and lows of seven local teams as well as Oulton Park and Oakmere in the Cheshire County League (see page 31).
In Division One of the Meller Braggins League, rivals Winnington Park and Northwich come together for the first time in more than 20 years.
Park are determined to halt their slide down the county’s league structure while revitalised outfit Northwich are on their way up having been promoted last year.
Park captain Phil Amatiello said: “We can’t wait to play them. There are a few friends and well known players there so we’re looking forward to it.”
Northwich skipper John Sullivan said: “We are ready for it. There’s a few local sides in our league so we’re looking forward to it.”
Park lost their County League status last year but Amatiello is eager to restore some pride to the Recreation Ground club and bounce back at the first time of asking.
He said: “We have to consolidate but we are not going to rule out going up either. We want to build the team spirit and enjoy playing cricket again.
“Hopefully that will breed success and promotion can be achieved.”
Park travel to Congleton on Saturday while Northwich head to Barrow, who were promoted with the Moss Farm side last year (both games start at 1.30pm).
Also in Division One are Davenham who will be led this year by Paul Jackson and visit Hale Barns on Saturday (1.30pm).
In Division Two, Barnton will clash with rivals Weaverham and Winsford, who train on Tuesday nights at their Knight’s Grange base.
Barnton are looking for promotion into Division One and although the Broomsedge Ground side have no new signings to report, optimism remains high.
Skipper Simon Hancock said: “We have got a young side this season but we are hoping that the players will play to their potential.
“We also hope the experience of Neil Langham, who has been playing in Melbourne, Australia, will benefit the team.”
Barnton travel to Cholmondeley on Saturday for their opening game (1.30pm) while Weaverham host Prestbury and Winsford are at home to Runcorn (both 1.30pm).
Hartford start their Cheshire Alliance Division One campaign at home to Langley (2pm).
On Sunday, Hartford host Haslington in the preliminary round of the knockout cup at Grange Park (2pm).