Bassetlaw title race is wide open

A tremendous catch by Glapwell's Daniel Bircumshaw off the bat of Clipstone's Josh Flowers  -Pic by:Richard Parkes
A tremendous catch by Glapwell's Daniel Bircumshaw off the bat of Clipstone's Josh Flowers -Pic by:Richard Parkes

Usually at the start of each season, the possible Bassetlaw and District League champions can easily be guessed at, but the winner of the 2014 title is virtually as difficult to predict as winning the National Lottery.

Several of the sides look to be of an equal strength, and if there is a stand-out side it might just be Anston, but then again this is only guess work and there is no real conviction in naming them.

Several players have moved about and, whilst the two relegated sides from the Nottinghamshire Premier League, Farnsfield and Papplewick and Linby, should almost certainly be there or there abouts, this season could be very different.

Back down from the Premier League are FARNSFIELD, who have led a yo-yo existence over the past few years.

Unfortunately for them Paul Franks has been appointed second team and Academy coach at Nottinghamshire and he will be a massive loss, but they have a tremendous amount of young talent at their disposal.

As well as Franks, Graham White won’t be available and the young side will be led by Curtis Mitchell.

You can never rule out Farnsfield and, with players of the ability of Callum McKenzie and Michael Bell with the bat and Jamie Wagstaff with the ball, they will certainly be challenging once again.

As last season, GLAPWELL have been the least busy once again, but this policy didn’t do them much harm as they finished third in the table and could easily have won it, having led for virtually two thirds of the season.

They have signed Steve Gooding from Cuckney, but that is the only item in the in-box at the moment although they are still hoping to recruit an overseas player to their ranks.

Two players have left - David Shore to Thoresby Park and Ashley Draynor to Matlock, but there are still some very good young players here.

However, it seems an impossibility for them to match Anish Paraan, the Singaporean who won the league bowling averages last season and finished third in the league batting averages.

Players of this calibre only occur once in a while and they would be very lucky to come up with someone to match him.

Skipper Matt Page and players such as Danny Bircumshaw are top drawer and others are making their way through.

It is never easy to gain promotion and do well but CLIPSTONE, who were promoted last season, were certainly the exception to the rule.

With Lee Wilson in charge they finished a creditable fourth and were a match for anyone.

They have strengthened their side even further with the acquisition of Justin Braithwaite, a West Indian opening batsman and quick bowler from Barbados, and several other fringe players, who will through their own efforts be knocking on the door for selection.

Wilson scored two centuries for them and the side, which is mainly based of younger players, also had the right blend of experience in Ian Woodall and Jason Graham.

Don’t count Clipstone out of the mix; they are frightened of no one.

A team who are normally slow starters but once they get into their stride usually do well is THORESBY COLLIERY.

This year they have a very useful-looking Australian at their disposal in Christopher Bennett - a top order batsman, who has scored a lot of runs in grade cricket and he is also quite sharp as well. He will be a more than useful addition to their attack.

They also have a new skipper in wicket-keeper Ben Marson and the hugely talented youngster John Skinner will be part of the first XI squad this season with big things expected of him.

Most of the other players are the usual tried and trusted ones and they should enjoy a good season.

ANSTON finished last season as runners-up to promoted Ordsall Bridon and there is no doubt that the side will once again be close to the title when the honours are dished out. They have built up a strong squad from youngsters they have brought through themselves and, with the magnificent Sri-Lankan all rounder Amila Perera in their ranks once again, they won’t be far away at the end of the campaign.

Champions of Division One and promoted are CAYTHORPE II, and they showed what can be done when everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.

They handed out some savage beatings to their competitors and, with the exception of Paul Reddington, who has left, are hoping to carry on the good work of last season.

The other promoted side is KILLAMARSH, who pipped Blidworth at the post to promotion and have added further strength to their ranks.

KIVETON PARK COLLIERY have suffered a nightmare scenario in the close season with a whole host of players leaving the club. They could be facing a hard season, but there is still enough talent there to see them compete.

One of the busiest sides this winter has been NORTH WHEATLEY WITH LEVERTON, and if they all click this might be the strongest side they have ever put out in the top division.

As stated last year, NOTTS & ARNOLD AMATEUR are a side who decided that a youth policy was the best way forward, and last year certainly showed that this policy was the right one as they finished in a highly respectable fifth position.

It is believed that another crop of top youngsters are virtually ready to make their mark and one can only see a bright future for this club.

Relegated from the Premier League are PAPPLEWICK & LINBY and, after a sustained period of success, they will be hopeful of gaining their place back as quickly as possible. The big news from here is that they have re-signed Kosala Kulasekara, a Sri Lankan Test player, who created a big impression when he joined Papplewick about five years ago with his hurricane hitting and his lively quick bowling.

WORKSOP mixed some good performances with some abysmal ones last season and if they can find some consistency this time they should do a lot better. However the middle order need to show more application as it wouldn’t take too much for them to threaten the strongest sides.