Whitby Cricket Club kick off their new league season this Saturday (April 18).
The 1sts have added Australian all-rounder Richard Howe to their ranks as they aim to challenge for promotion to North Yorkshire and South Durham League’s premier division.
Howe, the club’s overseas amateur for the campaign, flew over to Whitby at the back end of last week and is now looking forward to hitting the ground running.
Howe hails from the same club as Whitby’s overseas players of previous years, Wes Ripper and Sean Stevenson – Westbury Shamrocks, of Tasmania.
Whitby Cricket Club Chairman John Hall is hoping Howe demonstrates the ability which saw him shine in a recent cup final Down Under.
He took eight wickets for just 60 runs and then blasted 65 with the bat.
“All the lads in Australia say he is a very good cricketer,” he added. Whitby 1sts begin their season at home to Middlesbrough 2nds tomorrow.
Also kick-starting their season this weekend, against Newton Aycliffe 1sts, are Whitby 2nds, who were promoted last season into the league’s second division.
Skipper Andrew Wood is relishing the challenge.
“In terms of this year it will be tough,” he said.
“It is great that we are playing higher division cricket but with restructuring of the league next year, four teams go down, making it that bit harder.
“We will have to wait and see – we have a great set of young lads like Joe Crowther, Arron Leeman and Fin Morris who can really excel at this level.
“The important thing this year is we don’t get beaten and try to get as many points as possible in every game.”
The club’s thirds are embarking on a new journey after leaving the Derwent Valley League and are now in the NYSD Sunday League second division.
They were due to get their season under way this past Sunday with a fixture at Darlington RA 2nds but it was rained off.
Mr Hall said the popularity of cricket in Whitby is at a high, as evidenced by five local youngsters being called up to play for the county.
“Junior cricket has come on amazingly,” he said.
“There used to be 11, 12 children at practices, but last year we had fifty-plus and had to get extra help in order to coach them. It is tremendously popular and of great benefit to the town for children to learn the ethics of the game.”