THERE will be a St George’s Day start for the Tyke Petroleum Men’s Tennis League this year, competition getting under way on Sunday.

Poppleton, under captain Nick Turnbull, will be out to skewer a third championship in a row. Pop narrowly pipped Wigginton to the crown in 2015, and romped convincingly to the title again last year.

Hoping to at least singe those ambitions are old rivals Dunnington, the only other club to complete a triplet of men’s league championships, back in 2004.

Dunnington are returning to the top flight this season as division two champions, and entertain 2013 champions David Lloyd in their first match back.

New club Harrogate Spa will play in the Tyke Petroleum Men’s League for the first time, starting their campaign down in division six.

They have brand new premises in Claro Park, and under captain Andy Clayton hope to be emulate the success of other Harrogate teams who have advanced rapidly in recent years. First to sample the new facilities will be Bubwith 2, stalwarts of division six after a modest season last year.

Fifty-nine teams in total will start the 2017 campaign, in eight divisions.

With fewer than the ideal of eight teams each, divisions six, seven and eight will again play inter-divisional fixtures to make up their season to the full complement of 14 matches per team.

Opponents for these extra ties will be identified once half the scheduled fixtures have been played.

Although popular last year, this is the final time inter-divisional fixtures will be played, as the men’s league will revert next season to the old ladder system under a new regimen.