North Lancs and Cumbria Cricket League team-by-team guide
Last updated at 14:14, Friday, 20 April 2012
AHEAD of the start of the new North Lancs and Cumbria League season on Saturday, the Evening Mail previews all the South Cumbrian teams.
HARD-HITTING batsman Dan Sharp is the man with the job of kick-starting an Ulverston Road revival.
Sharp has taken over as Dalton first-team skipper, with the aim of building on a transitional 2011 campaign, when the club were forced to blood several young players, many of the old guard having given up weekend cricket.
Club chairman Stan Jones is optimistic that with Sharp at the helm, and the experienced father and son pairing of Brian and Jon Bell behind him, they can get the best out of a crop of talented youngsters.
“Dan is a decent cricketer, a good all-rounder, he can bowl a bit and keep wicket, but mostly he’s a good batsman, and I’m hopeful that with him in charge the first team can build on last year and have a good season,” said the chairman. “It’s a young team, but everyone is one year older, training has gone well and, fingers crossed, we can have a good year.”
Paceman Bell – who did not figure much last season due to a broken arm – will spearhead the attack, and no doubt his dad, wily old fox Brian, will play also a big part with the ball in his hand.
The Bells will help to bring the best out of young bowlers such as Lewis Woodend, Tony Butler and spinner Joe Braund-Smith, who tweaked his way into the record books last year by claiming an amazing two hat-tricks on his first-team debut.
Sharp will look to lead from the front at the crease, with the likes of former skipper Rob Jones, Liam Curwen and Paul Jones also hoping to be among the runs on a regular basis.
A very young Dalton A-team will be led by Mark Bamber, who will hope to nurture them, with the club’s long-term well-being in mind.
Last year: Ninth in Division, 10th in Division Two. Furness Cricket Association champions and Melville Cup winners. Pro: None.
MIKE Gadsden will aim to bring more success to Furness Park following the end of Stuart Horne’s glory era.
With Horne having moved to Scotland with his family, Gadsden takes charge of a Furness side who will be aiming to pull off their fourth consecutive Premier Division title.
It would be a tall order to expect Gadsden to emulate Horne’s incredible record of seven trophies in three years, but having served his apprenticeship as Horne’s vice-captain, and with a strong nucleus of top amateurs behind him, he will be confident of challenging for honours.
Gadsden will expect big contributions from the trio of Glenn Capstick, Mark Daly and vice-captain Pete Lawson, and with Sri Lankan Ian Daniel returning as professional after a fine first season for the club – 637 runs at an average of 70.78 – Furness should be there or thereabouts.
Talented young left-hand batsman Tom Smith and young paceman Ryan Tyson will be hoping for strong seasons, as will all-rounder Gareth Smith and seamer Lloyd Eastham.
Slow left-armer Jordan Buchanan could have a big role to play, filling the void left by the absence Horne’s off-spin and useful young batsman Liam Gribben’s arrival from now-defunct Duddon SC can make up for the loss of Paul Wilcock, who has joined Lindal Moor.
Competition for places will be hot, with former Cumberland captain Martin Lewis back in the fold, plus ex-Duddon SC men Brad and Dane Chapples and highly-rated youngster Nathan Waterston, from Hawcoat Park.
Furness will miss Lancashire CCC hopeful Will Chapples who is playing as a professional in the Manchester area.
The second team youngsters have been left in the capable hands of Mark Lauderdale, with Steve Perry having stepped down to concentrate on helping Roose Pioneers make the switch to North West Counties summer rugby.
Last year: Premier Division champions, Vigodny Cup winners, third in Division Two. Pro: Ian Daniel (Sri Lanka).
WEST Indies international Brenton Parchment is the new professional at Haverigg.
The 29-year-old Jamaican has played two Tests, seven One Day Internationals and one Twenty20 for the Windies, with his last cap coming four years ago.
Parchment, a right-hand opening bat who bowls a mixture of seam and spin, replaces Antiguan Wilden Cornwall as the pro at Poolside.
Club secretary Simon Bremer said: “Breton has done well as a professional for a number of northern-based English clubs over the last eight years, so he has good experience and is used to the cold weather!
“Wilden was not an option for us this season because he didn’t have the necessary First Class playing criteria and fortunately we were in at the right time to snap up Brenton.”
Having finished seventh in last season’s Premier Division, Haverigg will be skippered for a second campaign by all-rounder Steve Evans, whose seamers earned him 36 wickets and third place in the 2011 bowling averages.
Stalwarts Steve Chapman and Robert Bell, who between them contributed 989 runs, will once again pose a big threat with the bat.
Bremer said: “We are hoping for a good year from medium-fast bowler Craig Armstrong, who towards the end of last season was opening the attack with Steve. We’re also looking to develop the youngsters like brothers Jordan, Drew and Lee Postlethwaite, something that is very important to us.”
He added: “Champions Furness and the county’s northern-based teams will again be strong this year. Our aim is to try and challenge for a top-five place.”
Last year: Seventh in Premier Division, fourth in Division Two. Pro: Brenton Parchment (West Indies).
CLASSY batsman Dave Muncaster has taken over the captaincy from Peter Wall, who retired at the end of last season.
And Muncaster will be hoping to lead Hawcoat, who finished third-bottom in Division One in 2011, to an improved campaign.
Club chairman and B-team skipper Craig Barrass said: “We’re looking to have a better season and put trust in a couple of young lads moving up from the A-team to play regularly in the first team. We have Callum Muncaster – son of Dave – and Adam Hunter, two teenagers who might well open the bowling.”
The skipper will join the likes of Ryan Lucas – once he returns from university – and the experienced Steve Hannaway in playing an important role with the bat.
Stalwart Neil Cunningham – top run-scorer in Division Two last term with 611 at 33.94 – will again captain the A-team. Fellow batsman Sam Hilton – who hit 405 league runs in 2011 – will feature once his rugby commitments have finished.
There are high hopes for under-13s batting starlet Matthew Atkinson, who is on the books at Lancashire, but another good youngster, Nathan Waterston, has gone to Furness.
Hawcoat’s first team begin their season with a home game against Egremont, who have recently been promoted following the sad withdrawal of Duddon SC.
Last year: 10th in Division One, seventh in Division Two. Pro: None.
THE times they are well and truly a changing in Kirkby.
The tight-knit cricketing village have thrown open their arms to welcome their first overseas player this season as they prepare for life back in the Premier Division.
The Villagers, renowned for fielding sides packed with local born-and-bred players, have swooped to agree a deal with South African Mohamady Hanware.
The opening batsman and leg spin bowler is scheduled to arrive in South Cumbria as an amateur on a sporting visa, similar to those used by Furness RUFC’s South African rugby union players in the past. Hanware skippers the same Johannesburg club team that new Cleator overseas amateur Shaheen Khan plays for and wanted to experience English cricket at the same time.
The final arrangements for the visa are being made, but new Kirkby skipper Paul New is hopeful things will go ahead and their new man can make a big impact in the North Lancs and Cumbria League.
“It would be a first for us and it can help us with the training and bringing on the young lads,” said New. “With a new face in, especially an overseas player, it can really help the club.”
He added: “Everybody is looking forward to being back in the Premier Division.
“We know it will be a challenge, but we know what is ahead.”
As well as Hanware, Kirkby will welcome back Paul Tyson for the new season after a short-lived retirement, with no members of last season’s promotion squad moving on.
Last year: Runners-up in Division One (promoted). Overseas Amateur: Mohamady Hanware (SA, TBC).
LAST year’s Division One champions are targeting a top-half finish on their return to the top flight.
Leading Lindal Moor once again will be big-scoring veteran Colin Knight, with Paul Clarke his deputy.
Having hung up his bowling boots, Knight has enjoyed a phenomenal two years in the first division, scoring more than 700 league runs in both seasons. Clarke too has contributed with the bat, scoring almost 500 league runs last term.
Lindal have strengthened their squad over the winter with the signings of one-time Cumberland wicketkeeper Dean Williams, batsman Paul Wilcock from Furness and promising off-spinner Jake Woods from Duddon.
Jordan Hughes and John Atkinson took 78 league wickets between them last season, but long-serving left-armer Atkinson is working away and will miss a number of games. Fellow off-spinners Eddie Waind and Woods are waiting in the wings.
Teenager Jack Cumberbatch will be the focus of the new-ball attack. Cumberbatch has trained hard over the winter months and could surprise a few batsmen.
Vice-skipper Clarke said: “Our sights are firmly set past simply avoiding relegation. We may not challenge for the top spots, but we will be targeting a top-half finish and a good cup run.
“We will not have a professional for 2012. We made a decision that any money needs to be put towards the new pavilion project, which we hope will commence construction at the end of the 2013 season.
“We also now have a strong conveyor belt of talent coming through the club’s junior set-up thanks to the hard work of Keith Parke, Alastair McDougall (second-team captain), Colin Knight and Paul Satterthwaite.”
Among the youngsters expected to make an impact in 2012 are Cumberbatch, Ben Osbourne, Khana Kukreti, Ross Parke and Callum McDougall.
Last year: Division One champions, eighth in Division Two. Pro: None.
HAVING struggled without a professional last season, Millom have tapped into the international market for the 2012 campaign.
The St George’s Road outfit have plumped for in-demand Sri Lankan Geeth Alwis. The 24-year-old, who has had spells on these shores in both the North East and Staffordshire, is a highly-regarded top-order bat and left-arm spin bowler, with 50 First Class games under his belt.
The loss of Ryan Brown, one of the best amateur batsmen in the North Lancs League, to Barrow has left Millom with big boots to fill in terms of both batting and wicket-keeping.
The 20-time league champions, who finished way back in ninth in the Premier Division last term, will hope for a better campaign and have been boosted by the return to his roots of big-hitting Cumberland all-rounder Graham Dawson, and the arrival of wicketkeeper Dan Myles from Barrow.
Another plus is that skipper and seamer Simon Bickerstaffe says prolific run-scorer Stuart Swallow will also play more cricket this season.
Paceman Paul O’Callaghan, who took 37 league wickets at 15.27 each last season, Bickerstaffe, Dawson, Alwis and Adam Kelly will form a formidable bowling attack, while the likes of Peter Brockbank, Danny Mackie and Dominic Connor will seek to contribute to a strong-looking batting line-up.
Bickerstaffe said: “We have a stronger, more balanced, squad than last season. Losing Ryan is a blow, but we have a pro, Graham Dawson back and Stuart Swallow will play more.
“The pro is very highly thought of and I’m told five other clubs from our league wanted him. We are quietly confident.”
Millom’s second team enter a new era, being led by youngster Ashley Smith.
Last year: Ninth in Premier Division, bottom of Division One (relegated). Pro: Geeth Alwis (Sri Lankan).
FOR a long stretch last season, it looked as though Ulverston would upset the odds and gain promotion to the North Lancs Premier Division.
Under new skipper David Blain, and with seamer Gareth Yates taking wickets left, right and centre, the Priory Road side were up among the leading lights for the entire campaign.
In the end, some bad results towards the end of the year saw them come up five points short in fourth place, but new chairman Paul Storey – who has taken over the role from long-serving club servant Alan Regan after almost 50 years – is hopeful he and his team-mates can get the job done this time round.
“We did well last year and we just came up short with a couple of bad results and a couple of unfortunate rain-offs,” said Storey.
“We’re looking to be as strong as we were last year. We’ve spent a lot of money on the ground in the last few years and it looks super. We’re looking to put some good performances in.”
There have been major no changes to the Ulverston side, with Yates – who topped the Division One bowling averages last term with 45 wickets at 10.04 – leading the attack along with Stuart Cooper, who will also add his consistent scoring with the bat.
Barrow Raiders assistant boss Phil Atkinson is the one player to miss out, with his back problems and rugby league responsibilities combining to rule him out.
Youngsters Jonathan Blain, and Ben and Jack Dryden, are a year older and more experienced and Ulverston should provide a stern test to all-comers throughout the campaign as they look for a top-two finish that eluded them in 2011.
Last year: Fourth in Division One, sixth in Division Two. Pro: None.
SKIPPER Gareth Benson is targeting promotion back to the Premier Division.
The Rainey Park outfit finished a disappointing seventh in Division One last season, having been relegated from the top flight in 2010.
The 28-year-old Benson, for whom it will be a third year in charge of the first team, said: “The aim is the same as last season – to go up. We were disappointed as a club last year. For the first team to finish seventh and the A-team bottom of Division Two was not good enough.
“We are looking for both teams, as well as the B-team, to come on this season. Things look good, with around 25 players attending nets sessions.”
Prolific left-arm seamer Benson, who, despite a groin problem, finished second-top wicket-taker in Division One last term with 49 victims, will again lead the bowling attack, with the likes of Danny Williams and Mike Gibson also expected to cause damage with ball in hand. With the bat, vice-skipper Sam Beckman and Andy Ireland, who between them contributed almost 900 runs in 2011, and Craig Daly will be aiming for big campaigns, while Benson is hoping that exciting youngsters Dean Litherland and Tom Savage will continue their development.
“It is pretty much the same squad as last season,” said the skipper.
“I’m the second or third oldest, so we are a young side. I think it will be tight in Division One, with probably around six or seven teams fancying their chances.”
Last year: Seventh in Division One, bottom of Division Two. Pro: None.
First published at 13:29, Friday, 20 April 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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