Evening League Preview: Staxton ready to defend top flight crown

Staxton (above left) and Ganton are ready to challenge for Evening League honours in 2016
Staxton (above left) and Ganton are ready to challenge for Evening League honours in 2016

The AndyHire Evening League 2016 season commences on Tuesday with its first round of games.

There will be three cup competitions, the Harburn Cup for Division A teams, Hunter Cup for Division B and the Division C competition, which is now called the Lloyd Dowson Cricket Cup, with sponsors Lloyd Dowson providing a new cup and runners-up shield.

Division A of the league looks as though it could be a closer-fought league this year, although current champions Staxton look very strong after being unbeaten in 2015 and they will be looking to hang on to the winners shield again this year to make it five championships on the trot.

They could be challenged closely by last years runners-up Seamer this season, who will have former Flixton and Yeadon man Damon Gormley in their ranks.

Ebberston, who have a young side, could also provide a challenge under the captaincy of wicket-keeper Ben Lockey with the excellent Matty Turnbull being their main batsman and bowler.

Heslerton could also put up a strong challenge this year with new signing and former Flixton player Richard Malthouse turning out for them in evening league games along with Scarborough manKristian Wilkinson, they are captained by the excellent Sam Triffitt.

Both Scalby and Wykeham did very well in the league last season and will both hope to challenge.

Newly-promoted teams to the top flight are Ganton and Filey, who will be hoping to cement their places this season.

In the Harburn Cup, last year’s finalists Staxton and Ebberston meet in a crunch first round game at Staxton, with the winners meeting either Seamer or Heslerton in the semi-final.

This year the Harburn Cup will definitely have a new finalist with the other half of the draw having Wykeham at home to Scalby and Filey at home to Ganton with the winning teams meeting in the other semi-final.

The final is played at North Marine Road on Friday July 15.

Division B of the league will see Flixton looking for a quick return to the top flight after they were relegated last season.

Also relegated last season were Sherburn, who under captain Jack Pickard, will be hoping to get back into Division A at the first attempt.

Clubs that could easily be challenging for promotion this year in the B Division are also Cayton, Scarborough, Cloughton and Scalby B, who are captained by Brad Walker again.

Newly-promoted teams from Division C were Seamer B, under captain Craig Baker and Wykeham B with Ethan Pashby their captain, with both teams hoping to ensure they stay in this division.

The Hunter Cup sees Sherburn hosting Scalby B, Cayton at home to Scarborough, Flixton hosting Wykeham B and Cloughton at home to Seamer B.

Flixton are favourites and will take some beating in this competition this year.

The final of the Hunter Cup is to be held on Monday August 1 at North Marine Road.

Division C has 12 teams including newcomers Flixton B rejoining the league after just one season’s absence.

Early favourites for this division could well be Forge Valley, who were relegated from Division B last year.

Also likely to put up a strong challenge are relegated team Ebberston B.

Staxton B could also challenge with the prolific Andy Dove captaining the team.

Cayton B could also be a strong challenger with Matty Micklethwaite as skipper.

Other teams in this division who will depend on which players are available are Forge Valley B, Wykeham C and Cloughton B, who are captained by Colin Ward.

Clubs in this division with just one team in the league and who could be challenging for promotion are Valley Bar Nomads, Ravenscar, Muston and Snainton.

The Lloyd Dowson Cricket Cup for this division sees Cayton B hosting Muston, Staxton B at home to Forge Valley B, Ebberston B welcoming Forge Valley and Wykeham C hosting Snainton in the first round.

Cloughton B, Flixton B, Ravenscar and Valley Bar Nomads received a bye.

The final is at Flixton on Tuesday July 26.