York Senior Cricket League preview: New captains ready

hsb  Stephen Langstaff bowling for Sessay against Thirsk
hsb Stephen Langstaff bowling for Sessay against Thirsk

Studley Royal return for another shot at Premier division glory, having pushed for honours throughout last summer before falling away.

Matt Pickles has taken over the reins from long-standing skipper Steve Walmsley, as Studley eye another push for top flight honours.

Pickles returned last year after spells working in London and Malaysia

“We’ve had a good preseason, we started in February and we’re pretty optimistic,” he said.

“We’ll see how it goes. There are lost of variables over a season. In the Premier Division, there’s not a lot of difference between teams so it is very competitive. But we are looking to build on last year.

“Personnel-wise, our wicketkeeper Rob Nicholson might not be available this season. That’s a blow for us, he’s been one of our leading batsmen as well as our wicketkeeper and he had a great season last year.

“Glenn Carlton is also back as a recreational overseas and will be available every week.

“He’s a fast bowler and I gather he’s had an excellent season in the Home Counties Premier.

“Steve Walmsley is still playing. It was the right time for him to step aside and he’s done an outstanding job taking the club forward.

“Going from first to fifth at the end of the year was probably the wakeup call we needed.

“I think we properly established ourselves last year, maybe surprised a few people so we want to build on that this year.

“The weather conspired against us a bit last year, but there were also games we should have won that we lost.

“We were pleased with how we did but were also responsible for perhaps not doing as well as we should have done.”

Steve Langstaff’s SESSAY endured a torrid time in 2012, only able to complete half their fixtures due to the appalling weather.

Relegation followed, but Sessay are back, in positive mood and ready to return to the Premier division.

“We had a very wet winter and the ground was under water for 18 weeks but things are coming back to life,” he said.

“We’ve had a lot of support from the ECB and YCB, so it’s all looking very promising.

“It won’t be Lord’s but it should be playable.

“We had a really tough time last year, but everyone’s ready to regroup and move forwards.

“The team’s very similar to last year, although Carl Carver has gone to the Yorkshire Academy which everyone here is really proud of.

“Our biggest problem this year will be playing in a division we’ve not been in for 11 years, and the amount of travelling. Teams like Fenner, Heworth and Harrogate 2nds will all be strong.

“But it’s a chance for our younger players to come through, and hopefully get us back to the Premier. If we can keep a consistent side I’m confident we can do well.”

Nick Taylor steps up to skipper HARROGATE 2NDS this year, as the side target another assault on Division One.

The side has lost Ashley Griffin to the first team along with a late withdrawal of a top order batsman.

“ When we have our strongest side on the pitch we could challenge to win the league, but when we are missing players then we will find it tough,” said bowler Rob Stanworth.

“So, the aim would be to challenge the top four, but ultimately to stay in the division.

Key players will be George Owram with the bat and Stanworth with the ball, but opportunities will be there for others to step up.

Legendary bowler Barry Petty will captain THIRSK this year, who were relegated to Division Two last summer.

After several difficult seasons, chairman George Gifford saysthe focus this summer is a steady ship.

“The main aim at Thirsk in 2013 is stability,” said Gifford.

“From last year’s first team squad we have lost Tom Stead to Thornton le Moor and Rich Kirby to South Kilvington.

“No replacements have been brought in and we will look to promote from within.

“We believe we have some very good young players and feel certain people like Ben England, Stuart Christon and youngsters’ Keiran Fenwick and James Wilkinson will flourish in Division Two and if they do we could be an outside bet for a promotion place.”

TADCASTER MAGNET were unlucky to just miss out on promotion last term, and will be gunning for it once again under skipper Phil Smith and record-breaking bowler Paul Clark.

Elsewhere in Division Two, THORP ARCH AND BOSTON SPA will be targeting a push for the top half of Division Two under the captainship of stalwart Chris Magee.

“We’re looking forward to an exciting season having been promoted in 2011 and finishing seventh last year,” said Magee.

“We re-signed a former player in Ben Preston, who returns after a couple of seasons at Tadcaster.

“We have a few other new signings who should feature regularly, including Northern Irishman David Tweed, who has joined the club from Percy Main near Newcastle, having moved to the area this year.

“Laurence Bradley has also been recruited after returning to the area. We have lost two players to another sport, Will Bartlett and Jamie Perkins have both decided to focus on golf in 2013.”

Tom Leeming has taken over the captain’s mantle at Division Three RIPON this year, as Pip Warters recently welcomed a baby daughter.

“It’s all looking good so far,” said Leeming, who returned to Ripon at the age of 22 after spells in Harrogate, Wales and New Zealand.

“I’ve signed a young lad called Elliot Oates from Studley Royal who will opening the batting with Rob Taylor.

“Bobby Hilton’s also come in from Sharow, and John Davey’s come back from down south so we’re looking good.

“We want to be competitive. Last year we finished fourth and hopefully can build on that. I missed four or five games, and if I’d played I think we would have been there or thereabouts.

“I’d like to think we’d be a top two side, it depends on getting a good start and maintaining it.

“Duncombe Park will be strong this year. They’ve got Brian Leckenby who is a dangerous player. We beat them at home last year, we reached 175 but bowled them out for 135, so we’re headed in the right direction.

“We rely on a a few people, myself, I bat at three and I bowl first change, and the top four bats. But mainly it’s about enjoying ourselves and getting on as a team.

“Nobody’s a professional, and it’s a long afternoon playing with people you don’t like! “At Ripon we all get on, it’s a good atmosphere, we have a good laugh and a good time in the clubhouse afterwards.”

“That’s what it’s all about”