Woodhouse Grange favourites in race for Senior Cricket League top title

York Press: Sheriff Hutton Bridge will be hoping to be able to call on  up-and-coming  young bowler Eddie Barnes as they look to emulate last season’s second place finish in the  Hunters York & District Senior  Cricket League premier division Sheriff Hutton Bridge will be hoping to be able to call on up-and-coming young bowler Eddie Barnes as they look to emulate last season’s second place finish in the Hunters York & District Senior Cricket League premier division

THE new-look Hunters York & District Senior Cricket League gets under way on Saturday.

The main league has swelled to 59 clubs to accommodate sides from the former East Yorkshire Alliance, while a further 28 clubs will be participating in a Conference section.

A total of 144 sides will be taking to the field each Saturday, with the senior section of the league reverting back to a regional basis.

The premier division and division one cover the whole geographical area, with two division twos, two division threes and three division fours. Four conference sections operate below division four level.

Woodhouse Grange maintained their dominance of recent years by winning the premier division by 115 points in 2013 and it is difficult to see them being seriously challenged for the title in 2014.

They have lost Andrew Anderson, who has moved to nearby Pocklington, but have signed Pat and Matthew Durkin from Stockton & Hopgrove, who will add to a strong pool of players.

Sheriff Hutton Bridge claimed the runners-up place last season and will be happy if they can repeat that position this year.

They have a strong batting line-up led by Adam Fisher, but may be short on bowling if Eddie Barnes is regularly called on by Yorkshire Academy.

If selected for the Academy, he will be appearing alongside Matt Fisher, whose appearances for SHB are likely to be minimal.

SHB meet Stamford Bridge, who finished third last year, on the opening day for a game that may offer some insight into the season.

Stamford are strengthened by the inclusion of Carlton Towers stalwart Mark Holmes, who has opted to move to a premier division club.

As usual, the premier division is likely to be closely fought, with teams such as Studley Royal, Easingwold, Dunnington and Clifton Alliance all turning out strong sides.

The two newly-promoted sides, Hull Zingari and Fenner, will both be capable of holding their own, meaning Beverley, York II and Sewerby could be fighting to avoid the drop.

Having been relegated by only eight points last term, Acomb will be looking for a quick return to the top flight and have improved their playing pool by adding spinner Mark Bell from Heworth and Paul Downey from Tadcaster Magnet.

Selby may find it a little more difficult and could well find themselves behind the likes of Sessay, Folkton & Flixton and Heworth.

Pickering and Driffield may be threatened and will need to overcome the likes of newly-promoted Malton & Old Malton and Bolton Percy.

Harrogate have made a number of signings and will be hoping to bounce straight back into division one, while Londesborough Park may also figure strongly in division two.

Tom Kilby is back at Thorp Arch & Boston Spa as skipper, and will be keen to reverse last year’s relegation from division two.

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