Nottinghamshire Premier League preview

The travelling fans applaude Cuckney's contribution to the days cricket -Pic by:Richard Parkes
The travelling fans applaude Cuckney's contribution to the days cricket -Pic by:Richard Parkes

The 2013 season starts this Saturday in the Nottinghamshire Premier League with some intriguing fixtures in what is expected another competitive season in one of the strongest leagues in the country.

,Last season saw a new name etched on the championship trophy, and reigning champions Cuckney will be amongst the favourites to be in the mix come September.

They begin their 2013 campaign with a trip to local rivals Mansfield Hosiery Mills hoping to repeat their comprehensive win at The Fieldings from last term.

The champions will be without Luke Wood this season now that he has been transferred to the Nottinghamshire Academy, but will have a host of familiar names available who have played key roles in their success over recent years.

Will Butler, Richard Stroh, Nick Langford, Will Root and Ian Parkin form the core of a very strong side and they will also be hoping to continue their outstanding record in the Twenty20 competition.

The Millers ended 2013 in sixth but have ambitions to challenge at the top of the table.

Seamer Matt Wright joins from Kimberley, Sudesh Fernando is again their overseas player and Mark Smallwood returns from Worksop.

Their side will be centred around the New brothers with Matt New skippering and former Leicestershire keeper Tom featuring after being the only NPL player to pass 1,000 runs in 2012. The quartet is completed by 15-year-old Joe New who impressed last term.

The Nottinghamshire Academy ran Cuckney close for the title last time out and have seen some key changes to their roster for 2013 and they kick off their season with a trip to Sookholme to take on Welbeck Colliery.

Whilst winning four fewer games that the champions last term they were only beaten once, a seven-wicket loss away to Clifton in May.

Andrew Parkin-Coates again skippers the side that includes Notts stars Sam Kelsall, Brett Hutton and Sam Wood. They have bolstered their squad over the winter with Simon Walton and Ryan Evans being new fast bowling prospects to keep an eye on.

Welbeck welcome back Jake Ball from the Academy side, and he will be expected to play a key part in their season when not required by Mick Newell at Trent Bridge.

Kiwi seamer Olly Pringle joins from Skegness in the Lincolnshire Premier League and is another player on Nottinghamshire’s radar, having appeared for the Notts second XI in their pre-season friendly versus Essex.Martyn Dobson skippers again and Jonathon Ball will play a key part with bat and ball.

Bassetlaw champions Farnsfield have a tough start to their second stint in the league when they welcome one of the strongest sides, West Indian Cavaliers to Station Lane.

Paul Franks will captain the side and will be joined by Trent Bridge colleague and left arm spinner Graham White.

Their last stay in the NPL lasted only one season and they will want use their experience from the 2009 season to build a stronger foundation this time around.

The Cavaliers will be without two of their star names from last season with both Saqlain Mushtaq and Alex Tudor having moved on to other opportunities outside the county.

But they have recruited Akhil Patel from Kimberley as their professional and have quality players like Bilal Shafayat, Dominic Williamson and Ricaldo Anderson in their squad and skipper Usman Afzaal remains a potent threat with the bat.

Kimberley welcome the other promoted side Rolls Royce Leisure, who have recruited strongly since their promotion from the SNCL as champions last term.

Liam Andrews, Luke Fletcher and Tom Lungley have all moved from Clifton and are joined by Dan Birch from Kimberley, who will enjoy the opportunity to take on his former side.

Throw Notts’ Ben Phillips and former Academy keeper-batsman Adeel Shafique into the mix and you have the makings of a strong squad.

Kimberley have lost key players from previous campaigns, but have bolstered their squad with two key additions from relegated Wollaton, Ben Savage and Alex King.

They have also signed New Zealander Bharat Popli, a top order batsman from Northern Districts, as their overseas player. Skipper Sam Ogrizovic will be keen to better last season’s five wins and fifth place this term.

Three-times champions Clifton have also seen significant changes in personnel and will want to improve on their seventh place position in 2012 after a hat-trick of titles, and they start their season with a home fixture against Caythorpe.

They have signed a young South African all-rounder Jarrod Coombe and their team will be centred on Martin Weightman, Alistair Walters and Richard Harris.

They have also secured the services of former Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire left arm seamer David Lucas.

Caythorpe have a settled side but have bolstered it with the addition of Matt Dowman, signed from Papplewick. He joins Darren Bicknell, Jim Hindson, Josh Mierkalns in a quality line-up, again led by Andy Hunt.

The final match sees Plumtree travel to Papplewick. The visitors had a good return to the top-flight in 2012 ending in eighth position in a season that saw them twice get the better of champions Cuckney.

Ben Thompson takes the reigns as skipper and they have added David Bedingham, a young South African top-order batsman who made a 100 against England in last winter’s U19 Test series. Keeper Joe Tetley also joins him from Sheffield United in the Yorkshire Premier League and Matt Wood will look to continue his fine form from last year.

Papplewick welcome back Philip DeFreitas, who will be joined once again by Mark Nelson in a side that will be looking for a stronger performance than in the last couple of years when they flirted with relegation.

In last year’s campaign, the wicket-taking was led by Jim Rhodes and Dane Straw with 25 wickets apiece.

In a new development this season, there will be live reports from all six Premier League matches on Mansfield 103.2 Sport plus reports on the top games in the Bassetlaw and South Nottinghamshire Cricket League.