MATTHEW FISHER reckons his club side Sheriff Hutton Bridge are in with a "good chance" of winning the Yorkshire Premier League North ahead of the season's start.

The Yorkshire pace bowler has hailed the strength of Bridge's squad, as well as their efforts off the field in promoting junior cricket.

He has also spoken of their fundraising for York Against Cancer, whom the 21-year-old holds close to his heart.

On Saturday, Bridge visit newly-promoted Beverley Town on the opening day of the season.

The first round of fixtures also sees champions York host Scarborough, promoted Dunnington visit Castleford, Harrogate welcome Yorkshire Academy, Sessay play last year's runners-up Woodhouse Grange and Stamford Bridge take on Clifton Alliance.

The Hunters York & District Senior League starts as well on Saturday, with Pickering in action on Sunday at home to York II.

"There are a lot of really good things happening at (Sheriff Hutton) Bridge at the moment," said Fisher, who will turn out again for SHB this year when his commitments with the White Rose county allow.

"On the field, we think we have a good chance of winning the Premier League North this year - probably the best chance we’ll have had since the structure of club cricket in Yorkshire was changed at the end of 2015.

"We have some excellent young players who are improving year on year, led by my eldest brother Adam (the first-team captain).

"Adam and my other brother Mark are also two of the best players in the league.

"We also have Karl Carver, Ed Barnes and myself from Yorkshire alongside our Sri Lanka pro, Dulash Udayanga, who scored a lot of runs last year."

As Fisher is currently nursing back and thumb injuries, he is easing himself back into bowling while he prepares for a full Yorkshire return.

He is missing the early fixtures of the Royal London one-day Cup, which started last week, but he is feeling optimistic about the White Rose's chances.

"I’m backing us to be there and thereabouts again," he said.

"We have reached the knockout stages for the last five years in 50-over cricket without making that next step. But there is no reason why it can’t be this year.

"I think Josh Poysden could be a big player for us in this competition.

"Predominantly his strength is white ball cricket, and I think he’d admit that himself. He has all the variations and is quite hard to score off."

Of his gradual recovery, he added: "There are plenty of second-team games to play in, and I should also be playing some league cricket with Sheriff Hutton Bridge, which will be fun.

"It’s important I play enough to get 100 per cent fit and build my confidence in my body. That maybe didn’t happen last year when I came back from my side injury. I didn’t have that long in Yorkshire’s second team and there was a bit of doubt there."

Off the field, Bridge are trying to raise £5,000, half for York Against Cancer and half for the All Stars Cricket Programme, aimed at five- to eight-year-olds.

A group from the club recently raised £4,000 doing the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge, and the club will continue to try to add to that tally over the coming month.

"I was gutted to miss the walk," Fisher said. "I was with Yorkshire at Notts.

"York Against Cancer is particularly close to my heart, as it is with all the family and many members at the club.

"They were brilliant when my dad, Phil, passed on in 2012.

"He was always down at the club and helping out with the juniors and things like that.

"He was much loved, and no one had a bad word to say about him. There’s always supporters saying, ‘We’re missing someone’ when they have a drink in the bar.

"There’s one guy in particular who says, ‘My beer’s never tasted the same since Phil left us’. Those kind of things are always nice to hear.

"It was never a hassle for him to come and feed the bowling machine or whatever when I wanted to practise.

"He didn’t play that much. He was just a massive sports fan. He knew the basics of the game - get a good stride in, get your head over the ball, which is all you need as a young kid.

"Whatever the three of us got into, he’d back us 100 per cent.

"Half of the money is going to them and the other half the club."

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