ASKHAM Bryan Cricket Club cannot wait for the start of the new season as they bid to bounce back from problems which threatened the club's existence.

The century-old club are settling into a new home at University of York and have obtained sponsorship from an estate agency as they look to build for the future, having had to reapply for membership of the HPH York Vale League this winter.

Their troubles started before last season when they lost a big section of their squad, with many of the 2014 team having regularly travelled from Sheffield to continue playing for Askham after relocating to South Yorkshire for work.

Then early in 2015 they lost their home of 50 years as landlords Askham Bryan College decided to dig up the cricket ground and use the land to create football pitches.

Club secretary Ian Hall said: "It's not just about us getting games on this year - it's about keeping a historic club going hopefully for another 100 years.

"Last year was a tough season for us. Losing so many key players along with our ground took us to the brink of folding.

"Indeed, during the 2015 season, the club struggled to field a full squad and had to forfeit three games due to lack of players, leading to the club having to reapply for their place in the league in 2016."

This was in sharp contrast to the previous fruitful years at the club.

In 2012, Askham Bryan were a thriving village club fielding two teams in the Vale League and had a wide membership. The club had success on the pitch too, winning the Graham Headley Memorial Trophy, its first piece of silverware since 2006.

Now with a new home and sponsorship, they are looking to bolster the playing ranks again too.

Hall said: "We really need new players from the age of 12 upwards, whether they are experienced cricketers or have never played before."

The club will run pre-season nets at the University Sports Centre, at 7.30pm on Thursdays from March 17 to April 7, and anyone interested in playing is welcome to attend.