Bassetlaw: Consistency will be the key in a wide open title race this summer

Andrew Stoneman has joined Worksop from Anston this season
Andrew Stoneman has joined Worksop from Anston this season

Consistency will be the watchword for Worksop this summer in what looks a wide open title race in the Bassetlaw & District League.

The new season starts tomorrow (Saturday) with a trip to newcomers Farnsfield first up for Worksop in the Championship.

Last year, they mixed some good performances with some abysmal ones but if they can find some consistency this time they should do a lot better.

They have many good players with Tim Smith Jnr looking a real prospect and the South African Bernhard Beukman, who did well with both bat and ball, returning once again.

They have added Andrew Stoneman from Anston to their ranks and their attack is varied with pace from the likes of Conor Smith and Wayne Spooner and spin from Dave Hancocks.

And if the middle order can show more application, then it wouldn’t take too much for them to threaten the strongest sides.

However, Worksop are just one of many sides who can go into the season feeling confident of impressing this year.

Usually, at the start of each season, the possible champions can easily be named but the winner of the title this time around is virtually as difficult to predict as winning the National Lottery as several of the sides look to be of an equal strength,

Several players have moved about and whilst the two relegated sides from the Notts Premier League, Farnsfield and Papplewick & Linby, should almost certainly be there or there about, this season could be very different.

Anston finished last season as runners-up to promoted Ordsall Bridon and there is no doubt that the side will be once again close to the title when the honours are dished out.

This club has done remarkably well and has built up a great camaraderie over the year’s which shows on the field.

Although captain Martin Long has left for Ordsall Bridon and Andrew Stoneman has gone to Worksop, they have recruited Ashley Arnold. Luke Donaghy and Jon Plant, all from neighbours Kiveton Park.

Joining them as well are Michael Cannadine and Connor Graham a prodigious young talent who left the club but has now returned.

With Mark Parkinson re-installed as captain this is a strong combination who will prove difficult to beat.

They have built up a strong squad from youngsters they have brought through themselves and with the magnificent Sri Lankan all rounder Amila Perera in their ranks once again, they won’t be far away at the end of the campaign.

It is never easy to gain promotion and do well but Clipstone, who were promoted last season, were certainly the exception to the rule.

With Lee Wilson in charge they finished a creditable fourth and where a match for anyone.

They have strengthened their side even further with the acquisition of Justin Braithwaite a West Indian opening batsman and quick bowler from Barbados and several other fringe players who will through their own efforts be knocking on the door for selection.

Wilson scored two centuries for them and the side which is mainly based of younger players also had the right blend of experience in Ian Woodall and Jason Graham. Above all, Clipstone showed last year they are frightened of no one.

Caythorpe 2nd are up as Division One champions and they showed what can be done when everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.

With Andrew Staszkiewicz proving an inspirational captain with both bat and ball and the return of bowler George McCaffrey, they led the table all the way and, with the exception of Paul Reddington who has left, are hoping to carry on the good work of last season.

The other promoted side is Killamarsh who pipped Blidworth at the post to promotion.

They have added further strength to their ranks by signing batsmen Eddie Allcock from Norton Oakes, Michael Spence from Eckington and Paul Clarke from Kiveton Park.

All last year’s side, with the exception of Sam Malpass, are back and Steve Ludlam remains as captain.

There is quite an array of talent here with batting talent from the likes of James Daniel, Richard Dewsbury, and Aaron Green, whilst Steve Ludlam and Parminder Mudhar are top quality bowlers who will always prove troublesome for any side.

Kiveton Park Colliery have suffered a nightmare scenario in the close season with a whole host of players leaving the club.

Why this has happened is a mystery but it would seem a blip on the horizon and one can see them quickly returning to the strong side they have had over the last few years.

As well as the three who have left for Anston, Matt Hall has retired, Gary Andrews has moved to Ordsall Bridon and Matty Cartwright to Aston Hall.

However they can still call upon Adam Whiteley who averaged 81.00 last season, Richard Grainger, Rob Coxon, Richard Spurr and Chris Pickering, a pace bowler recruited from Anston.

Relegated from the Premier League are Farnsfield, who have led a yo-yo existence over the past few years.

Unfortunately for them, Paul Franks has been appointed second team and Academy coach at Notts and he will be a massive loss, but they have a tremendous amount of young talent at their disposal.

As well as Franks, Graham White won’t be available and the young side will be led by Curtis Mitchell.

You can never rule out Farnsfield and with players of the ability of Callum McKenzie and Michael Bell with the bat and Jamie Wagstaff with the ball, they will certainly be challenging once again.

Glapwell have been the least busy once again, but this policy didn’t do them much harm as they finished third in the table and could easily have won it having led for virtually two thirds of the season.

They have signed Steve Gooding from Cuckney but that is the only item in the in-box at the moment although they are still hoping to recruit an overseas player to their ranks.

Two players have left, David Shore to Thoresby Park and Ashley Draynor to Matlock, but there are still some very good young players there.

However, it seems an impossibility for them to match Anish Paraan the Singaporean who won the league bowling averages last season and finished third in the league batting averages.

Players of this calibre only occur once in a while and they would be very lucky to come up with someone to match him.

Skipper Matt Page and players such as Danny Bircumshaw are top drawer and others are making their way through.

One of the busiest sides this winter has been North Wheatley with Leverton and if they all click, this might be the strongest side they have ever put out in the top division.

Luke and Jake Tong have joined from Ordsall Bridon although the latter is with Notts Academy and will only be available when not required by them.

Matt Loates has joined from Wiseton and a New Zealander Rob McConnichie a batsman is also available.

The biggest capture however sees the return of Jon Loates from Welbeck and this prolific run-getter should give them some very good starts.

Jamie Sizer is a very useful opening bowler and in the spin department they have Jamie Bovill and Callum Harrison once again.

Richard Robinson again captains and this could be the best side this club has ever put together at this level.

Last year, Notts & Arnold Amateur decided that a youth policy was the best way forward and last year certainly showed that this policy was the right one as they finished a highly respectable fifth.

They still have some good experience in Ian Flood and skipper Dilhan Cooray, who is possibly the best player in the league, and add to that quick bowler Jordan Finney and 15 year-old all-rounder Liam Patterson-White who virtually beat champions Ordsall Bridon on his own last season.

It is believed that another crop of top youngsters are virtually ready to make their mark and one can only see a bright future for this club.

Relegated from the Premier League are Papplewick & Linby and after a sustained period of success they will be hopeful of gaining their place back as quickly as possible.

Jim Rhodes captains the side and they have retained the services of Alex Lloyd and Mark Nelson whilst Ross Fitz John who lives in New Zealand makes the trip over here every year.

However the big news is that they have re-signed former Sri Lankan Test player Kosala Kulasekara a who created a big impression when he joined Papplewick about five years ago with his hurricane hitting and his lively quick bowling.

A team who are normally slow starters but once they get into their stride usually do well is Thoresby Colliery.

This year they have a very useful looking Australian at their disposal in Christopher Bennett and he is a top order batsman who has scored a lot of runs in grade cricket and will also be a more than useful addition to their bowling attack.

They also have a new skipper in wicketkeeper Ben Marson and the hugely talented youngster John Skinner will be part of the squad this season and big things are expected of him.

Most of the other players are the usual tried and trusted ones and they should enjoy a good season.