Tomorrow is the third Saturday in April, traditionally the start day for most league cricket and, Easter Saturday or not, for most clubs it is opening day. For the pcw not committed to watching one particular club the world is his or her oyster, and with a good forecast following a relatively dry spring there should be few if any postponements.
My local weekly paper, the Knaresborough Post, devotes a double page spread to the prospects for the three leagues within its readership area: namely the Nidderdale, Wetherby and Aire Wharf competitions. Nidderdale correspondent Amy Craven concentrates on what she sees as a three horse race between champions Spofforth, runners up Ouseburn (applause), and promoted Pannal. All three have signed new players and all three start 2014 away from home at Alne,, Dacre Banks and Blubberhouses respectively.
Beckwithshaw, league and cup winners in the Aire Wharf must manage without legend John Inglis who is taking a sabbatical but will still be most people's favourites. Their skipper Ben Quick is tipping Bilton, who welcome former Yorkshire all rounder Victor Craven to their Harrogate ground, to be the main rivals. Hard times seem to have come to Collingham who will not be paying any players reports Ed White and this will present an opportunity for home produced youngsters to make their mark. Their first chance will come at home to Guiseley.
In the Wetherby League runners up Kirk Deighton captain Rich Ward is naturally hopeful of improving on that this year but sees title winners Great Preston and Scarcroft as their main rivals. Match of the da here sees Scarcroft welcome Kirk Deighton. A club just a mile down the road from my house, Whixley will begin what will be their last season in this company for they have been accepted into the Nidderdale for 2015. Crossgates will be the first visitors to enjoy the Cherrymen's new facilities shown under construction last year.
Finally I would like to congratulate two friends of mine who have qualified as umpires and will stand for the first time tomorrow in the Wetherby League, good luck to Arthur Bartle and John Fisher who I am sure will be successful in their contrasting styles.