Staithes’ bid to defend Beckett Premier title starts at Cayton

SBL Premier Division champions Staithes start the defence of their title at Cayton on Sunday
SBL Premier Division champions Staithes start the defence of their title at Cayton on Sunday

The revamped top flight of the Readers Scarborough Beckett League gets under way this Sunday with a bang as champions Staithes travel to Cayton.

Staithes, who lifted the title in dramatic circumstances after a final-day title shoot-out against third-placed Staxton, meet last year’s runners-up Cayton this Sunday.

Cayton have lost Michael Dennis and Jake McAleese to Flixton, but have strengthened with the signing of Aussie Alex Townsend.

Staithes will again look to the runs of Richard Hegarty and Stuart Marsay at the top of the order, and the all-round skills of stalwart Simon Bowes.

Perennial title-challengers Staxton host Scalby in their first clash, and new skipper James Armstrong will be keen to see his side get away to a winning start.

Elsewhere, newly-promoted Mulgrave host Nawton Grange, Seamer meet Forge Valley, Flixton 2nds play Filey and Ebberston welcome Heslerton.

SBL secretary Simon Dobson can’t wait for the action to get under way.

He said: “The Premier Division will be extremely competitive and I feel there is no side that could be classed as an overwhelming favourite with many teams evenly matched.

“Reigning champions Staithes will again be pushing for the title, but to win back-back championships is not easy and hasn’t been done since Ebberston back in 2006, so it’s a tough call who may come out on top in September.

“Staxton are regular title challengers and I feel Cayton, Ebberston and Heslerton made excellent progress last year.

“Filey, Forge Valley and Nawton Grange are dangerous opposition for anyone while Scalby and Flixton 2nds have both strengthened.

“Both promoted sides, Mulgrave and Seamer, will also be excellent additions.

“There are also a number of new faces in the league, including some overseas players and it will be fascinating to see how they all perform.”