Cricket is back! Elsecar plot title defence

Elsecar's  Shahzad Rana
Elsecar's Shahzad Rana

So here we go again in the Ben Bailey Homes South Yorkshire Senior Cricket League and a summer similar to last will be most welcome.

Last season saw us lose less matches due to weather than ever before, so let us hope for a repeat.

Premier Division champions Elsecar are delighted that after a very successful first season, overseas star Shahzad Rana has agreed to return.

He will be joined by Andy Ivill who joins after a spell at Whiston. Brett Hunsley is also back in the fold after a season’s break while Amit Kundra comes in from Doncaster Town to replace Daniel Rafiq.

This year’s challenge to Elsecar is likely to come from usual suspects Whitley Hall, Treeton, Whiston, Aston Hall and Hallam.

Whitley Hall have stuck rather than twisted in the hunt for the title but the tying down of all rounder Jaco Castle is an important move.

Former Upper Haugh ace Adam Clarke has joined Treeton along with Whiston’s Sufyan Sayed and the returning Tom Whittaker while Pakistan U19 quicker Muhammad Azhar Attari is set to arrive.

Aston Hall have been boosted by the arrival of Matt Cartwright from Kiveton Park while Geoff Ashmore switches from Treeton. New ground developments have been completed at Aston with the club set to host the Whitworth Cup final.

Andy Tomlinson will skipper Whiston who have signed Rob Oxberry from Upper Haugh and Darfield duo Simon Potter and Chris Jeavons.

Hallam have snapped up Vaidik Raj, an all rounder from New Zealand, fresh from a 900 run and 55 wicket spell at Alkborough.

Wath will be relying heavily on junior prospects following the retirement of James Barnard.

Scott Hibbert has come in from Aston Hall to add his all round abilities and South African Derek Mitchell will return.

Conisbrough are expected to mount another promotion push from Division One after their season of two halves last time around.

Gary Strephan will captain the side, hoping for a more sustained challenge following last season’s dramatic drop off.

Overseas star Jeff Hemmings will return in early May and the squad will be strengthened by three players coming in from neighbours Doncaster Town.

All rounder Nick Morley will be joined by spinner Jonathan Redfern and the returning Oliver Jackson.

Relegated Upper Haugh and Houghton Main will be keen to return at the first attempt.

Haugh have lost a number of players and welcome Mark Patching and Danny Bowering while Main will be hoping for great things from overseas all rounder Peter Colbourne and former Rockingham all rounder Ben Dalton.

Rockingham bring in Richard Hirst from Aston Hall and popular overseas recruit Love Kesh will return.

Kexborough are expected to make another push after going close over the last three years.