THE Cheshire County League kicks-off on Saturday and it promises to be an exciting year for our teams.
In the Premier Division Chester Boughton Hall have a new skipper in former Christleton player Jim Gillson, following Steve Ogilby’s move to Nantwich.
Australian pro Hayden Butterworth comes in on the recommendation of Hall old-boy Heath Pritchard and Lancashire Academy players Chris Connolly and left-arm bowler Ashley Shaw have bolstered the squad.
Gillson said: “We had a good season last year, but I think this squad is a lot stronger.”
That sentiment is echoed by Oulton Park captain Nathan Dumelow. Everyone was surprised last season when Park’s young side didn’t mount a strong defence of their title.
Dumelow is refusing to tip his charges, but warned that in 12 months they will be fearsome.
Rick Moore has re-joined after a season at Christleton and Nick James has returned from Nantwich.
“Craig Williamson and Jonny Kettle have returned from winter in Australia much improved, Jonny has even got into Lancashire’s Academy,” said Dumelow.
“We should do well.”
Neston, who finished seventh last season, will be looking for another solid season and open up with a derby at Boughton Hall.
In Division One, Christleton skipper Paul Allen’s five-year plan to return the side to the Premier Division is ahead of schedule.
In come David Bates from Middlewich, Jamie Creek from Bethesda, Danny Ahmed from Tattenhall, Shaun Young from Cholmondeley and Mike Dodd from Staffordshire.
“Last season we didn’t have a full squad of first-team players, this season we do have that quality,” said Allen. “That will make a difference.”
Having missed out on promotion from Division Two last year, Tattenhall will be primed for another assault on the top two.
Saturday’s County League fixtures (selected): Premier Division – Chester Boughton Hall v Neston, Oulton Park v Widnes. Division One – Christleton v Cheadle Hulme. Division Two – Tattenhall v Burnage.