Staxton face Heslerton in tough opener
The 2015 Readers Scarborough Beckett Cricket League gets underway this weekend with some tasty encounters to kick off the new campaign.
In the premier division, Staxton start the defence of their title with a home fixture against last season’s runners up Heslerton.
Boosted by the signing of batsman Dave Morris from Forge Valley, the nine-times champions appear to be the team to beat and captain Nick Gibson will once again lead a strong looking, balanced side, which still includes elegant batsman Chris Dove, who scored 572 runs last season.
Heslerton will have a new look about them under new skipper Adam Spaven, having lost some key players.
Opening batsman Alex Carrie and pace bowler Kristian Wilkinson have both joined Scarborough, while former captain Anthony Stones left during the latter half of 2014 to move to Flixton.
Spaven will be delighted with the signing of last season’s leading wicket-taker, spinner Dan Jeminson from Kirkbymoorside.
Forge Valley finished third last season but the loss of Dave Morris to champions Staxton and Tom Bumby to York League side Malton could be significant blows.
Tom Brough, who has won the top flight merit award for the last two seasons, will again be expected to among the runs alongside Mick Glew.
Valley begin at home to Flixton 2nds, who only managed three wins during 2015, but their youngsters will benefit from the experience they had in the top flight last campaign and will again be led by fast bowler Mark Shackley.
Staithes have recruited Justin Ringin, an Australian spinner and possess two of the league’s leading lights in all-rounder Simon Bowes and batsman Richard Hegarty, who both scored over 500 runs last year.
They face a difficult opener, as they travel to a Cayton side that impressed in 2014.
Darren Foreman takes over as captain and will put faith in a developing team, including Australian recruit, Australian Nick Strangio, an all-rounder, although the experience of all-rounders Paul Woodhead and Steve McAleese will prove vital.
The two newly promoted teams will be eager to make an early impression, but both are capable of having good top flight campaigns.
Last season’s division A champions Scalby make their first appearance in the top flight since 1999 with a home fixture against Filey.
Batsman Lee Kerr, captain Adam Waugh and all-rounders Jon Barton and Paul Hesp could be key figures.
Jamie Gilbank has taken over as Filey captain following David Brannan’s move to Scarborough and he will be hoping leading duo Paul Bowes and Andy Burrell hit top form.
Relegated from the top flight in 2014, Seamer will beone of the teams to beat in a competitive division A.
They start their season at home against fellow promotion hopefuls Wykeham, who finished third last season.
Anthony Jenkinson will head the batting line-up with keeper batsman Greg Chadwick and Matthew Morris the fast bowling group for last season’s relegated outfit.
Ezra Pasby and off-spinner Matthew Vincent will again be key players for Wykeham alongside seam bowlers Dave Pearson and Gareth Barnard.
Mulgrave will start the season in search of a second successive Beckett League promotion and are at home against Sherburn, who will be out to improve this year after finishing ninth last season.
Sherburn have lost all-rounder Stuart Pickard to Heslerton but their batting line-up continues to feature Craig Sanderson.
Mulgrave enjoyed a fine first season in the league last time out, securing a league and cup double and will be confident of making the step up into division A, with Andy Thompson and Chris Clarkson leading the batting and Craig Thompson leading a strong bowling attack.
Grindale, who had a fantastic first half to the 2014 season before tailing off after suffering from a shortage of players due to work commitments make the short journey to Wold Newton.
Father and son all-round duo Ian and Liam Cousins head a good crop of players who will be looking to towards the top end of the table.
Young quick Oli West, who claimed an impressive 44 wickets last season, will spearhead Newton’s attack.
Charles Gray and Matthew Southwell are also key men.
Ricky Nock takes charge at Cloughton and will be pushing for a good season.
The club regrouped last season after an indifferent 2013 and will be hoping to make continued progress. Leading batsman, left-hander Paul Virr remains a key man.
Cloughton entertain Settrington on the opening day, with the visitors capable of beating any side on their day.
Left-hander Stephen Beal had a fine 2014, averaging 43.29 with the bat.
Brompton play host to Cayton 2nds, who return the second tier of the league for the first time since 1998.
Cayton 2nds will bring a mixed of experience and youth to the division, with ex first teamers Jez Riley and Simon Glave key men.
Brompton will again field a strong looking side, with former Scarborough player Tom Pateman and the Bruce brothers and another ex-Scarborough man, Karl Theobald.
Fylingdales finished just eight points short of promotion last season and will be looking to go one better this year as they startat Sewerby 2nds in division B.
Sewerby possess Cameron Rusbridge-Burns, who has enormous potential.
Thornton Dale skipper Chris Headlam will be keen to build on last season fourth place finish and could be pushing for a promotion berth.
The team is built on a good team spirit, with all-rounders aplenty including Lee Oliver and Tim Hunt.
Headlam has been buoyed by the news of Lyle King and Matthew Clark being available on a regular basis.
They start 2015 with a home fixture against newly promoted Ravenscar, who boast a strong looking batting line up led by Joe Bayes (543 runs at 49.36 last season) and a bowling attack with Jish Rewcroft and Dinesh Swaminathan leading the line.
It’s all change at Scarborough 3rds, where long-standing captain Martin North has stood down but should be a youthful-looking outfit.
They will play host to newly promoted Scalby 2nds, who are led by experienced wicket-keeper batsman Paul Marton and will have Tom Gregory and Tony Geall in their ranks.
Consistent performer Steve Lount will again head Bridlington 2nds’ batting line-up when they play host to Staxton 2nds.
Ganton will be hoping for a good season under the leadership of Stewart Ward and with the likes of Alastair Limb in their ranks are a capable side.
They start at home to Forge Valley 2nds who are captained by left arm medium pacer Carl Jackson, will look for runs from keeper batsman Andy Toal and will hoping for regular outings by spinning all-rounder Neil Arnott.
New teams Flamborough, Great Habton and Muston will all be looking to make a big impression as they all return to the league in division C.
Reigning Derwent Valley League champions Flamborough are at home against Ebberston 2nds.
Leading batsman Andy Dixon will again be leading the charge but Ebberston 2nds have fine young talents in Sam Hardie and Joe Dunnett in their bowling ranks.
Great Habton travel to local rivals Ryedale in what could be a cracking encounter.
Habton, who are captained by John Lumley, are a youthful looking outfit and team looking to progress.
Muston face a tricky trip to Ian Thompson’s Wykeham 2nds, who finished third last season.
Heslerton 2nds, captained by James Almond and Cloughton 2nds both struggled last season but face each other on the opening day hoping for improved summers, while Fylingdales 2nds entertain Seamer 2nds, led by Conner Myerscough.