The new cricket season gets under way tomorrow and we have been around the clubs to see how they are shaping up for the 2017 campaign.
Chester Boughton Hall
It’s all change at Chester Boughton Hall for the 2017 season – with not one but two first-team skippers.
Lee Dixon has stepped down to concentrate on captaining Cheshire – and he has been replaced by his younger brother Ross for Saturday Vivio Cheshire County League games.
And the increasing number of cup matches means Will Owen will make the step up to lead Chester’s Sunday side.
Both skippers will look to challenge on all fronts and will have the experience of Lee available alongside them.
“It was a challenge to manage all the cricket we had in 2016 and lead Cheshire,” said Lee.
“So this works well for all of us. Both Ross and Will are hugely experienced and are looking forward to the challenge.”
Chester, who get their Premier League campaign under way at home to Neston on Saturday, are set to give players breaking through from the club’s highly successful junior set up and academy side a chance.
Teenager Tom Wyatt, 16, will be given the opportunity behind the stumps and Lee added: “Jack Williams and Harry Killoran are set to resume their deadly duo after Harry missed much of last year through injury.
“Jack, meantime, has enjoyed a winter in Tasmania. They’re two of the county’s strongest spinners and, with the possibility of veteran Rob Fisher also being involved, it’s an interesting time.”
Rick Moore and Warren Goodwin will spearhead the batting alongside the two Dixons, Ollie Law and Nick James, who scored nearly 200 runs in pre-season friendlies.
Youngsters Joe Maddocks, George Metcalf, Charlie Fleet and Alex Townsend will be pushing through from a strong Chester 2nd XI that will again be led by Dan Riley with support from Matt Griffiths.
Quickie Ash Davies leaves a hole after returning to Neston, who finished one placed behind Chester last season in fifth, and who have also signed all-rounder Will Evans from Mochdre and left-arm paceman James Claxton from their Perth sister club Swan Athletic, as well as bringing back Luke Camden from Birkenhead Park.
Chester’s 3rd and 4th XIs will be captained by Steve Treen and Ian Thistlewood respectively, Jim Gillson takes up the captaincy of the Sunday academy side, Dave Atkin leads the Over 40s, and there is a new women’s academy team alongside the successful 1st XI captained by Lorna Starkey.
Jo Herbertson’s girls sessions are now underway on Tuesdays from 5pm and next month the club will launch ‘All Stars Cricket’ for children aged 5-8.
Congratulations also go to Charlie, Noah Vickery, Jake Liddle and Reg Wyatt for their Cheshire Youth selections for 2017 in their respective age groups.
Oulton Park, who missed out on promotion last season, start their Vivio Cheshire County League Division One campaign at Urmston on Saturday.
Alvanley are looking ahead to the 2017 season with plenty of optimism.
Once again under the guidance of skipper Chris Charles, Alvanley can boast a number of new players.
New Zealander Jonno Whitly has arrived as the club’s first overseas signing in 10 years and ex-Alvanley junior protégé Ben Aveyard has made the same journey, returning from emigrating there two years ago.
Also returning to bolster the bowling ranks are Lee Ainsworth and Billy Ouzinidis, both having missed last season. Mark Entwistle and Michael Weale join the club for the first time.
Alvanley have also benefited from new sponsorship deals. Stag Suits have agreed to sponsor the first XI, while Hunters Estate Agents have become sponsors of the brand new girls section of the club.
First-team spinner Sophie Ecclestone continues to impress on the international stage and is currently with the England women’s team in Dubai.
Alvanley get their Vivio Cheshire County League First Division campaign under away on Saturday at Christleton.
One of Christleton’s aims for 2017 is to build on their strong second half to last season, which resulted in a fifth-placed finish.
All of last year’s first-team regulars remain and the side will again be captained by Tom Norris.
Josh Morgan Jones, who has been with the club since the early junior age groups, takes over from Matt Astbury as vice-captain.
A number of players who have come through Christleton’s youth teams in recent years, like Jack Gittins and Al Marks, figure prominently in this season’s plans.
The club’s 2nd XI will be led by Ian Mitchell, who takes over the captaincy from Russ Crowley.
Mitchell will be supported by two vice-captains, Adam Gittins and Charlie Allardice.
There are a strong group of 15-18-year-olds who will play a key part in the second team as the club looks to capitalise on the excellent work being done within the junior and youth section.
Senior nets take place on Tuesday nights at the club with junior coaching on a Monday. For more information, visit www.christletoncricketclub.co.uk.
Tattenhall captain Stuart Sadler is looking forward to a good season in Vivio Cheshire County League Division Two.
With the County ground facilities at the Flacca, and the consistently highly marked wickets of ground chairman Brian Jarrard, Tattenhall are well placed to consolidate after a challenging campaign in 2016 ended in relegation from Division One.
Teenager Henry Dobson has been handed a Lancashire Academy contract and he has moved on to play in the Premier League with Nantwich.
Ben Gibbon will also stay in Division One with Oulton Park to build on his Cheshire age group career.
But Andy Styan joins from Yorkshire league cricket and Tattenhall have enlisted the services of South African Connor Windell, who will assist with playing and junior coaching at the club.
There will be opportunities for younger players to step up from the 2nd XI and the club is hopeful that more will break through during a campaign that gets under way on Saturday at Northwich.
International cricket comes to Cheshire in July when the England Learning Disabilities team will be involved in a tri-series tournament with Australia and South Africa.
Tattenhall will be proud to host England v Australia on July 14.
Tattenhall will also hold their second junior festival for under-9 and U11 cricketers on August 13.
Boys and girls looking to try cricket are welcome to attend the club on a Friday from 6pm.
Barrow get their Division Two season up and running away to Bredbury St Mark’s on Saturday.
Barrow have registered 20-year-old South African Uzayr Parker as their overseas signing and brought back pace bowler Phil Johnson.
Chester County Officers
It has been a very busy close season for Chester County Officers.
The club has managed to recruit well to strengthen both squads for the 2017 campaign.
Martin Flanagan and Bradley Rudd have joined from The Groves and will be looking to challenge themselves in a new environment.
Buhr Advirkar is an exciting new quick bowler studying at the University of Chester.
Steven Brewer, Mark Romans, Siddharth Grover and Andrew McCord are new names that will strengthen the 2nd XI.
Juniors Stan Lewis, Joe Wilcox and Archie Howell will add youthful energy after exams and assist in the second half of the season.
The increased availability of Ian Rule and Steve Birchall is also going to benefit CCO.
First-team skipper Stuart Putson has suffered a nasty injury during the football season and will miss the first half of the campaign, allowing Graham Dodd to step up into the captain’s position.
He will be ably assisted by veteran Steven Johnson.
The 2nd XI is also all-change. Mike Roberts takes his first steps into captaincy during his return from a damaging knee injury. He replaces Dec Hickey, who has done a marvellous job over the years.
Jon O’ Mara takes over the vice-captain duties.
The club is hoping to make its way back up the leagues after a disappointing few seasons and will be aiming for promotion for both teams.
CCO’s first team get their UKFast Cheshire League Division Three campaign under way at Maritime on Saturday.
Cholmondeley, meanwhile, head to Over Peover.
Chum will be captained this season by Brett Balac.
Th new ECB initiative ‘All Stars cricket’ is going to take place at Chester County Officers every Tuesday night from May 23 for eight weeks.
Starting at 6.30pm, it is aimed at children aged 5-8.
CCO’s junior training runs on a Monday throughout the season from 6pm onwards.
Senior training will run on a Tuesday from 6pm onwards.
New players of all abilities are welcome.
Kingsley get their UKFast Cheshire League Division Two campaign under way at home to Bunbury on Saturday.
Kingsley have signed a new overseas player, Australian Hayden Lanza, who has played for Western Suburbs District CC in Brisbane first grade cricket.
The first team will again be captained by Toby Mullins (24) and Ben Stoddary (23) while evidence of the club’s commitment to its thriving junior set-up is underline by the fact that Mike Lawless (25) and Patrick Phelan (22) have taken over the running of the second team.
Oakmere are away to Chelford on Saturday.
In Division Four, Westminster Park head to Tranmere Victoria.
And in Division Five, Frodsham host Malpas and Saughall travel to Mellor.
Alen Roberts will lead Saughall in 2017, assisted by vice-captain Nick Ballard.
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