The Bassetlaw Cricket and District League season begins this Saturday - and Ordsall Bridon seem to have a rather compact-looking squad of players which affords them the best chance of success since the glory days of the 1980s.
Another side who might just push them all the way is Kiveton Park who have strengthened their hand from the team that under performed last season.
Without any doubt a side who have done rather well over the last few years is ANSTON and it would be wrong to write them off because there is an awful lot of talent there.
Once again they have the brilliant Sri-Lankan Amila Perera in their ranks and this guy has been a major asset to them over the last few seasons.
If he isn’t taking wickets, he is not conceding many runs either.
Two players who made their mark towards the end of last season are opening batsman Josh Marsh and opening bowler Chris Pickering who have come through from the juniors and made their mark. With Martyn Long as skipper, Anston will give everyone a game and don’t be surprised where they finish in the table, it might be higher than you think.
Promoted CLIPSTONE are back at top level for the first time in a long while.
With Lee Wilson captaining the side they have risen through the divisions at break-neck pace and look to be still on the up and up.
The Australian import Anthony Armistead has returned for another season and Jason Gorman from Edwinstowe and Ian Woodall (Mansfield & Pleasley) have joined their ranks.
An all-rounder, Dean Blake, who had a short stint with Notts & Arnold Amateurs a few years ago, has joined them also and, with opening bowler Lewis Sprigg fit and raring to go, Clipstone look as though they might make some impact.
The other promoted side CUCKNEY II certainly had a fantastic season in 2012 and will have improved even more for the experience.
With Mark Langford showing the know-how and experience as captain, the side will certainly be the youngest of all in this division.
Steve Gooding has joined them from Mansfield & Pleasley but other than that they will be relying on the side which was promoted.
Last season Will Ullyott, Daniel Wood and Mark Walker all batted consistently whilst Andy Stephenson, David France, Oliver Wilson and Mark Langford were always a threat with the ball. With Langford’s experience and a load of precocious talent with him, Cuckney may well enjoy a much better season than folks think.
Of all the sides in the top division GLAPWELL have been the least active. Over the past few seasons though the side has changed dramatically with some excellent young talent making their mark in the first XI. Matt Page takes over the captaincy from Matt Goodwright who has decided to remain at home in Australia. Although there are no new signings as yet, Glapwell are still hoping to add an overseas player to their ranks and moves are afoot now. They have a good range of players in Lee Topham, Danny Bircumshaw and bowling strength in Luke Smith and Danny Pykett as well as skipper Page’s all round ability. With a good overseas likely, Glapwell look capable of taking on and beating the best.
At this time last season, everyone was expecting HARTHILL to be relegated straight back to Division One but they shook everybody by winning seven matches and finishing a highly respectable fifth in the league.
They have signed on once again the Sri-Lankan Dinal Fonseka who spent a good proportion of last season injured and they have made a truly great signing in Dave Adams who when he plays has real ability with both bat and ball.
Ian Briggs once again captains the side and good young players such as Danny Anthony and Jack Mason allied to the more experienced Rob Jones and James Radford gives them a good chance of another fine season.
One of the strongest looking combinations on paper appears to be KIVETON PARK COLLIERY and with two new top quality recruits one would expect them to be quite a threat this time. However last season they finished a dismal fourth from the foot of the table so you can’t take anything for granted. Luke Danaghy their young skipper again leads them and the bowling is further strengthened with the acquisition of Jon Plant from Anston a very good all-rounder and Gary Andrews a fine left arm slow bowler. When you add talent such as Matt Hall, Adam Whiteley, Matty Cartwright, Richard Grainger and Richard Spurr you think that they are sure to be buzzing round the top but they must be much more consistent than last season.
Richard Robinson again captains NORTH WHEATLEY WITH LEVERTON, and in addition to last year’s staff they have added a young West Indian Dwight Thomas to their ranks.
Thomas is a hard hitting batsman and off spin bowler who could turn out to be a major asset. He is 22 years old and has represented St Lucia and the Windward Islands and is on the verge of a regular place at senior level.
The rest of the team is the same as last year with good young players such as Will Shaw and Jamie Sizer even more likely to make their mark and, added to the experience of Jamie Bovill, they may once again be good enough to retain their place.
NOTTS & ARNOLD AMATEUR are a side who several years ago decided that a strong youth policy was the way forward.
Under the expert leadership of Dave Wood they should once again have the league’s best all-rounder Ian Flood available and, in Jordan Finney, one of the most promising seam bowlers in the league - and he isn’t 16 years of age yet.
You can’t possibly see them winning the league, but in Dihan Cooray, who won the league batting averages last term, they have arguably the best batsman in the league.
Scott Leivers can also put in a good stint with the ball and the side are capable of beating the best as they have proved before for several seasons.
The team which won virtually everything put in front of them in the 1980s, including six league titles, ORDSALL BRIDON, at last look as though they are about to reclaim those glory days.
They won the Tomlins Trophy last season and have added to their squad Timothy Miles, an English-born Australian from Perth, and Paul Van den Heuval, from Marshalls, who averaged a rather useful 61.70 runs with the bat last season.
This was a side that looked good last term and with these two added it can only get better.
Darren Spooner captains and they also have Marc Brewer, James Brice, David Fagan and several other very good players.
Where there is a void, it is the slow/spin bowling department with George Appleyard away at University all summer.
It will be interesting to see how they go, but they won’t be far away.
The team that surprised everyone last season by finishing third, RETFORD have surely had a winter they would like to forget.
The worst blow was the tragic happening of skipper Paul Singleton, who lost both his legs owing to illness after topping the league bowling averages last season.
They are hoping they have signed a young Indian off-spinner Milan Bedi, but it is still in the balance if he will arrive.
Two young players Haydn Green and Tod Wray have joined them from Marshalls but they lost the services of Jon Cooke, Paul Toward and Sam Shepherd with two of these moving away from the area.
Retford badly need some luck to go their way because they haven’t had any of late.
With a new captain but virtually the same set of players THORESBY COLLIERY will give most teams a good game and look destined for a mid-table spot.
Nayeem Ahmed takes over as skipper from Martin Cheshire who is still available and still an asset. They have signed a South African, Arno Debeer, who bowls a brisk medium pace and is a useful middle order batsman, and with players such as Ben Marson, and other fast-maturing youngsters available to them, they will be more than a match for most.
Making up the division is WORKSOP, who had a terrible season finishing at the foot of the Nottinghamshire Premier League last season after gaining promotion the year before.
They have signed some new players such as Liam Ainger, from Kimberley, Jack Atherton from, Welbeck and Ross Stallworthy, from Clumber Park, and are still hopeful of having an overseas player, but are waiting on confirmation.
They have lost Mark Smallwood and Gareth Pursehouse, who have both returned to their former clubs, whilst Conor Smith takes over the mantle of captain. The side looks pretty strong and they should enjoy a decent season.