THE 2017 LWC Cornwall Cricket League season gets underway on Saturday with all clubs in the Post area in action. David Sillifant takes a look at how the clubs are shaping up ahead of the big kick-off.
AFTER a tough first season at the helm, which saw them finish sixth in the league and fail to win any cup competitions, Adam Hodgson has been retained as first team captain as Werrington look to bring the Premier League title back to Ladycross.
Werrington have strengthened significantly, bringing in Cornwall stars Matt Robins, James Turpin and Tom Hughes although no overseas has been signed as yet due to visa issues.
On paper all bases look covered with an awesome batting line-up and plenty of pace and spin options in the bowling department. However, with other teams strengthening considerably, they’ll have to play extremely well to take the title from champions St Just, last years runners-up Truro and many people’s pre-season favourites, Penzance.
Werrington start their campaign in the 40-over cup at St Austell.
After a brilliant first year in County One which saw them achieve safety with a couple of games to spare, the second team will look to consolidate once more. No signings have yet been made but with the added depth in the first team, skipper Mark Hodgson is confident of achieving safety with a bit of time to spare.
Hodgson said: “Although I think the league will be a lot more difficult this season with Troon and Lanhydrock coming up, the fact that our first team have strengthened significantly means I’ve not had to go looking to add to the team. We’ll be looking for a mid-table finish although we know that’s going to be tough.”
The third teams who play in Division Three East and Division Five Tamar respectively, are once again led by Richard Stanbury and Nick Wills.
AFTER a disappointing campaign last term which saw them finish fifth, Callington will look for a return to the top-flight with two teams being promoted from County One.
The Moores Park outfit have signed all-rounder Sam Pengelly from Launceston while wicket-keeper Joe White is fully fit.
Batsman Charlie Coates and leg-spinner Harry Sawyers have been signed from Liskeard and Tideford respectively and look set to play in the first team.
Aidan Libby will again continue as captain and should form a potent new-ball attack with Pengelly although they have lost batsman James Long who has gone to work in Southampton.
The second team who finished second-bottom in Division Two East last term but avoided relegation due to the league restructuring, should be boosted by the increased depth in the firsts while the third team will play in Division Five Tamar and hope to give their thriving youth academy a chance to experience adult cricket.
They’ll play most of their home league games on Sundays with the rest being played on Launceston’s second team pitch after they decided to stop using their own second team pitch at St Germans Road due to vandalism issues.
Chairman Lewis Bond said: “We’ve got an excellent all-round side and we hope to push towards the top end of County One, especially as two teams go up this year. We’re also in the process of trying to get an overseas sorted as well as we could perhaps do with another top-class batsman.
“With the new signings it’ll hopefully help our second team while we’re very thankful to Lanson for letting us play some of our home games on their second pitch.”
DESPITE looking like promotion certainties for much of 2016, St Minver’s first team fell away towards the end of the season to finish second, 31 points adrift of champions Hayle.
However, a productive winter on the playing side means they should challenge once more in both the league and in the Hawkey Cup even though club chairman Shaun Hawken is looking to dampen expectations.
Club professional Callum Wilson has been made the full-time captain after filling in towards the end of last season and should resume his new-ball duties with Hayden James who missed the second half of 2016 through injury.
On the batting front, Clyde Connellan returns from Roche while leg-spinning all-rounder Robin Hendricks is the new overseas player. One departure has seen all-rounder Jonny Centini rejoin Wadebridge.
The second team will look to survive once more in Division Four East although they’re likely to have to do it without key batsman Luke Marshall who is set to become a father.
Hawken said: “I’ll be happy to finish fourth or fifth this season. We have a good team but we can’t always get the consistent teams we need to secure promotion.
“We’re also looking to build the infrastructure of the club with new nets. The second team will look to survive again in Division Four and I’m confident they’ll do it but it promises to be another exciting season at the club.”
AFTER missing out by just two points to eventual champions Lanhydrock, Launceston will look to secure promotion back to County One at the second attempt from Division?Two East.
Last year much of their success was built on a formidable opening attack of Robert Mutch and Sam Pengelly who both took 37 wickets apiece in less than a dozen games each.
However, with Pengelly signing for Callington, alot will rest on the shoulders of Mutch who takes over as skipper from Dan Tilley.
There has been some good news with opening batsman Michael Bolt returning from South Petherwin to fill the problematic opening slot while swing bowler Kevin Horrell has also made the same move.
On the batting front, much will rest on the shoulders of Bolt and the hard-hitting Kevin Worth with the rest expected to chip in.
The second and third teams are once again captained by Matthew Bloomfield and Paul Bunn and will look to finish as high as possible in Division Four East and Division Five Tamar respectively.
HAVING only survived in Division Two East due to the league restructuring and the fact that both teams relegated from County One were from the western section, the omens don’t look good at South Petherwin.
Over recent years a number of players have left and the same has happened again this summer.
Michael Bolt and Kevin Horrell have rejoined Launceston while David Cox has made the same move to play in the second team. As well as that, Lindsay Gliddon, Steve Drew and Keith Drew have all moved away.
Despite the raft of departures, new skipper Jacob Masters isn’t too downbeat.
Masters said: “We know it’s going to be a hard season but we’re going to try and stay up. “Last year Veryan and Pencarrow pulled out but with three teams coming up we should be competitive against them and that’s where we’ve got to get our wins. I think that five or six wins should be enough. I hope to announce a couple of signings soon although both are at uni and won’t be available in the early weeks of the season.
“The second team have supposedly got some former players to help them out so hopefully we can get two decent teams out each weekend, as well as giving our five under 15s in the seconds lots of chances to play men’s cricket.”
AS?USUAL it’s been another relatively quiet winter at the Chapel Field.
Luke Brenton left and then re-signed for the club from Callington although no-one else has left or joined.
Ryan Brown has taken over the first team captaincy duties from his father Dave while club stalwart Ian Roberts has the tough task of keeping of keeping the second team up in a very competitive Division Three East.
As with all clubs, consistent team selection will be a challenge, however if the first team can make their Chapel Field home a fortress once more, a tilt at promotion could be on the cards after last year’s rain-curtailed campaign.
BUDE move into the 2017 campaign on a crest of a wave after both teams were promoted last summer.
As you might expect, changes have been few and far between with both teams looking to survive in Division Two East and Division?Four East respectively.
Warren Rumble has resigned from Werrington to bat at the top of the order in the first team whose batting looks strong although their bowling will be put to the test by some of the division’s better sides.
The second team should survive comfortably in a league which is considerably weaker than last term.
AFTER a historic unbeaten run to the Division?Four county title, Tintagel captain Jason Seldon is looking to make it a double promotion.
The North Coast club will pick from an unchanged squad although they are still waiting for confirmation on whether Australian batsman Nathan Lyon will be allowed to return.
The second team will play in the newly-formed Division Five Gannel and are captained by wicket-keeper Chris Lovegrove.
Seldon said: “We’re looking to win the league really. We’ve got the same squad as last year and we shouldn’t be far away even if Nathan isn’t allowed back.
“We have depth in batting and bowling and the seconds are getting better too. As a club we’re getting stronger and it’d be nice to get promoted once more.”
PROMOTION is the word on the lips of Holsworthy skipper Ryan Walter ahead of the 2017 season.
The Stanhope Park club along with Bugle are the overwhelming promotion favourites after finishing fourth and fifth respectively last year.
Only Jason Head from last year’s squad is unavailable while they have signed young left-arm spinner Jack McAllister who has moved to the area from Somerset. All-rounder Leo McDonnell is also hoping to play when his job as a tree surgeon permits.
Walter said: “The aim is to win the league, that’s what we’ve talked about over the winter. If we get a consistent team then I don’t see many teams beating us but with the travelling we have to do you never know what sides we’ll have out some weeks. But we’ve got a good team for this level and we hope to get promoted.”
DELABOLE?Cricket?Club by their own admission suprised themselves in winning Division Five East last term.
However, a core of good lower league players means they should survive comfortably at the next level even if skipper Glen Burrell is worried that football and rugby will affect availability as the season progresses.
Burrell said: “We’ll have roughly the same team as last year so it’s important we start well until people go and play other sports. But we have a good mix of youth and experience so hopefully we can stay up. We didn’t expect to go up last year but we got on a roll and kept winning so hopefully we can do the same although we know it’s going to be far tougher.”
GUNNISLAKE start the 2017 campaign with seemingly no changes to their squad.
Despite an ageing side, they finished fifth in Division Six East last year and will rely on the wily Paul?Lees and Mike Hugo with the ball and the hard-hitting captain Sam Boundy at the top of the order to make their usual contributions.
Expect another mid-table finish in Division?Five Tamar provided there key players perform.
CAPTAIN Richard Baxter is hoping for a upper mid-table finish in the newly formed Division Five Tamar and is hoping that last year’s travelling problems won’t take centre stage again.
Baxter said: “The restructuing of the lower leagues suits us perfectly. Last year we had to do alot more travelling but being able to play alot more local teams should let us get 11 out every week. We have a very small squad and alot of us are getting a bit older so it can be a bit tough getting a side out.
“Despite that, we want to be somewhere near the top and I think we will be if we get a consistent side out and stay injury-free.
There are a couple of potential new players but nothing has been signed yet so we’ll see what happens with that.”