The contest to top the Nidderdale League this season looks as fierce as ever with several teams strengthening their ranks ahead of the summer months.
OUSEBURN were comfortably champions in Division One last year but emerging threat Pannal have been busy in the transfer market in their search for honours.
Ouse’ are sticking with that same squad that brought home the silverware last year, with the only addition being Australian Adam Fisher, an opening batsman from Melbourne club Dandenong Panthers.
Despite the lack of new recruits, captain Chris Morrison believes that another title is firmly attainable with the squad he has available.
“We won it last year, so we’re hoping to do the same again this season.” he said. “It would be nice if we could do the double.”
PANNAL ran Ouse close on their return to Division One and are aiming to build on their second placed finish, according to captain Matt Henry.
We won it last year so we’re hoping to do the same again.”Chris Morrison, Ouseburn
“From last season, we’re aiming to consolidate and build on our success.” said Henry.
“We’re going to take every game as it comes and just try to beat every team.”
Young talent Ed McNicholas has departed but an array of new arrivals have come into Henry’s squad.
Harrogate bowler Ollie Driver has joined ex-Knaresborough all-rounder Cameron Pitt and Masham’s Rob Smith at Malthouse Lane, while West Indian overseas Adelvin Phillip will add fire-power with the ball,
And Henry is relishing the selection headaches that the new boys have provided.
He added: “For the first time, there’s going to be a lot of competition for the first team, which is really healthy and exciting, although it makes my job very hard.”
HELPERBY wrapped up last season in third spot and club captain Matthew Cavanagh said another high placing was on the cards.
Helperby haven’t added anyone to their squad as of yet, but have done well to keep hold of Dan Marston and last year’s star player, overseas Atish Chouhan, who was the league’s leading wicket taker with 39, and also came third in the runscorer’s standings with 614.
“Last year was our best ever finish, and this year we really hope to maintain that level, and try and go higher if we can,” said Cavanagh.
“It’s a really competitive league, and I would say Ouseburn are the favourites, but everyone will be challenging for the top spots.”
Helperby will also be hoping to retain the Atkinson Swires cup that they won in 2014.
SPOFFORTH believe overseas recruit Dillon McCloskey can turn their fortunes around with the ball after a torrid time fighting relegation last season.
The Melbourne quick bowler has impressed returning captain Tom Clark so far in the netsand will open the bowling.
Wicket-keeper Ross Atkinson has joined Kirk Deighton, but the gloves will pass to new signing James Keane from Ripley. Miek White is also missing the season.
Chairman Craig Hunt said: “We had a bit of a disastrous season last year. On paper we looked strong, but we had a fairly new side playing together and it just didn’t quite work.
“We struggled to bowl sides out, Hopefully with Dillan we can help ourselves more with the ball.
“We would like to finish in the top four, that’s where we are aiming. It’s down to us to produce good performances.”
Last season’s sixth-placed finishers, KILLINGHALL, have appointed Simon Williams as captain for 2015.
High hopes have been placed on rising talents Ben Cutts and 17-year-old batsman Tom Whitaker, the nephew of club stalwart Dave Bentley.
Their overseas player is Dylan Jacotine, a young pace bowler from Melbourne.`
After a fine 2014 which saw them go unbeaten at home, Darley will be hoping that their home dominance can continue in their Division One campaign, following their promotion.
Experience skipper Duncan Naylor wants the club to mount a challenge for a first Division One title since 1996.
New Zealander Wade McKenzie has been snapped up to bolster the ranks however big hitting all-rounder Pete Hughes has joined Wetherby League outfit Bilton-in-Ainsty.
BISHOP THORNTON will be hoping the loss of opening bowler Dan Harris won’t affect their hope of achieving a solid mid-table finish.
The side also have a new overseas in Josh Davies, who will likely go to the top of their batting order. “We have a very young squad,” said captain Rob Nelson.
BURTON LEONARD welcome back star overseas Nicky Smith for a second season, and captain Matthew Rangley hopes the pace man can take them towards the title.
He said: “He’s aiming to take 50 wickets, he had a pretty big impact last year, and we’re looking for him to be a big part of the team again.”
ALNE have re-signed Australian Luke Vincent after impressing last season, and have also managed to secure the signing of Doug Ramsey from Easingwold.
With a host of talented youngsters pushing for starting berths, captain Toby Stirke hopes to avoid the relegation dogfight they found themselves 12 months ago.