2016 Cricket Season Preview
Monday 11th April 2016 @ 16:17 by Mark Phillip

Article by Martin Frost

The weather recently hasn’t suggested it but the 2016 cricket season is now with us. Saturday sees the opening of the campaign for all of our local Clubs with the exception of the Cheshire County and Pennine Leagues which start a week on Sunday, (24th April).

Weather permitting the first balls will be bowled at 12.30, and with them, a whole new look to league cricket will be underway. The Lancashire County; North Manchester; Central Lancashire and Saddleworth Leagues are no more. Replacing them will be the Greater Manchester and the Pennine Leagues.

Eight of our local clubs will see action this weekend in the GMCL, bringing with it different opposition and changed match formats all designed to enhance the competitiveness and help reinvigorate the league scene.

Placed in the Premier Division of the GMCL are Denton West; Denton St Lawrence and Glossop. The fixture lists sees two intriguing fixtures on the opening day which pitch former Lancashire County teams against ex CLL opposition. Denton West, who featured strongly in the LCL last year, visit Unsworth. The Windsor Park outfit will be looking for a good return from Victor Mahlangu, who has moved across from Elton. Steve Oddy, a consistent performer as paid man for West’s last year has stepped down to amateur, and will provide real strength to the attack. Returning to Windsor Park is Hamish Dunlop, who contributed to West’s success in 2013, with 60 wickets and 500 runs.

Glossop have a trip to Heywood, which will prove to be a good test for the North Road team who pushed Prestwich all the way last year. Dale Pennington will be looking to reproduce the form which delivered over 1, 000 runs in 2015. Paid man for Glossop is South African Gionne Koopman, a left-hand bat and leg-break bowler. Member of the Border provincial side and part of the SA senior academy, Gionne will be available for one-to-one coaching and will run the club’s summer school in August.

Denton St Lawrence are at home to Greenmount formerly of the Bolton League.

In Division 1 Dukinfield are our sole representatives. They face Whalley Range, formerly of the Saddleworth League, at Higher King Street. They can look forward to a campaign involving two familiar faces in Roe Green and Woodhouses. Bamford Fieldhouse have re-emerged following their ignominious exit from the Saddleworth League in 2013. Rumour has it that once again the Rochdale based team has seen significant investment directed at the playing squad from their benefactor.

In Division 2 Denton, whose season was previewed in last week’s Reporter by skipper James Hawley, have a local derby against Flowery Field at Egerton Street. The visitors have Sean Gibson, formerly of Radcliffe and Bury, as pro at Throstle Bank Street. Droylsden face a trip to The Racecourse at Radcliffe. The Oakfield team will be led by Aaqib Uppal, who returns to Droylsden following 4 years at Bankfoot in the Bradford League. Rob Tipping has stepped in as coach, and Droylsden will be looking for him to further develop the Club on the field.

Ashton Ladysmith start the GMCL season with a visit to Stand 2nd’s. The team from Rose Hill Road will be looking for a positive season, building on their Calverley Cup triumph in 2015. They have also taken the decision to run 3 senior teams this year.

It’s not only the GMCL which starts this weekend but also the Derbyshie and Cheshire League. The primary Cup competition, the Bissenden Cup, sees the season underway. Last year’s champions Dinting, have a home tie with Hawk Green; runners up Mottram visit New Mills; and Broadbottom host Tintwistle. Stalybridge St Pauls, in their debut season in the DCCL, visit Birch Vale. A full list of fixtures can be found on the DCCL website.

Here’s hoping for a successful season ahead for all of our local clubs, including of course Hyde; Ashton; Micklehurst and Stayley who will see their first competitive action next weekend.