Evening cricket league preview

The admission of two new sides and the re-entry of Bubwith, who previously resigned their membership in 2005 season, will see the three-division structure of the Foss Evening Cricket League filled to capacity for the first time in the league’s history.

There was due to only be one vacancy in the league but, sadly, Wheldrake and Barmby Moor, both whom suffered relegation in 2011, have folded. These resignations mean Aviva Vikings and Bubwith will slot into division two, while the other new side Askham Bryan will ensure division three has a full quota of fixtures in 2012.

Division one preview

York Cricket Club will begin as hot favourites to lift the league championship, having only missed out in their debut season due to administrative points deductions. They will again be led by first XI opening batsman Duncan Snell and no doubt give promoted Westow a baptism of fire in the first round of fixtures.

The other teams likely to be in the mix are current title-holders Stamford Bridge and ten-times winners Woodhouse Grange. Stamford Bridge claimed the title for the first time last summer and will not be looking to give it up in a hurry; first XI skipper Matty Beckett and fully fit all-rounder Dom Rhodes will be looking to lead the side to further glory. Grange continues to be led by Andrew Bilton who, after claiming the title in his first season in 2010, saw his side drop back to third in 2011.

With Sam Vale taking over as skipper, Pocklington will be looking to steer clear of the promoted sides in the relegation battle having just held off Londesborough Park in the battle of the drop in 2011.

Dunnington had a quiet season in 2011, neither in danger of relegation or challenging the top three, and will be hoping to be challenging at the top again having not won the league since 2006.

Division two preview

Aviva Vikings and Bubwith join a division that was extremely tight outside of the top three sides in 2011, and, as unknown quantities, they make predicting the outcome extremely difficult.

Bubwith are maintaining cricket in the village, having had to resign their senior side from the York Senior League at the end of 2011, with club stalwart Neil Readman still at the forefront of operations.

Londesborough Park will be expecting to be in the promotion mix as they have, since re-admission in 2008, claimed the division two title twice but proven not strong enough for division one with a relatively young team. Despite relegation in 2011, youngster Mike Drewery continues as skipper.

Bishopthorpe, The Retreat and Yapham all avoided relegation by a single point, but only Yapham have made changes to leadership with young batsman Jack Holman taking charge.

Division three preview

Melbourne, under new skipper Harry Collins, will be looking to make an immediate return to division two after rain robbed them of the chance to play for survival in the final game. Having claimed the division two title in 2008, dual relegations in 2009 and 2011 has seen the MCG-based side drop from the top to the bottom division.

The competitiveness of the two development sides, Dunnington Academy and Heworth Colts, will depend on the ages of the sides available to them. Heworth requested not to take the place in division two that came with a runners-up finish in 2011, as they expect to field a much younger side this term.