Beckett League preview: Heslerton strengthen ranks as they look to retain title

Beckett League preview by Daniel Gregory
Beckett League preview by Daniel Gregory

The Scarborough Readers Beckett League gets under way a week on Saturday and we’ve looked at each division as he season draws near.

Premier Division

Champions Heslerton have strengthened as they look to retain their title.

They’ve brought in Jake Keyworth from Horsforth, Rob Middlewood from Bridlington and have drafted in an overseas player again this season in the form of Aussie Michael Dawson.

They will be looking to their pace trio of Adam Spaven, Kristian Wilkinson and Daley Wharton to fire them to the title.

Elsewhere, promoted Filey and Seamer will be looking to consolidate in the top flight, while Staxton will no doubt be looking to challenge Heslerton at the top.

The form of batsman Chris Dove and young spinner Linden Gray will be crucial to their title bid.

Opening fixtures:

Cayton v Filey, Ebberston v Forge Valley, Kirkbymoorside v Seamer, Staithes v Staxton (Sunday - Flixton 2nds v Heslerton.

Division A

Relegated Cloughton will be hoping to bounce straight back to the top flight at the first time of asking.

They open with a home encounter against Nawton Grange.

They will need club veteran and wicket-keeper/batsman Paul Virr to fire on all cylinders if they’re to do just that.

Sherburn will be looking to challenge for promotion after narrowly missing out last season.

They will be looking to opening batsman Simon Dobson to consistently get the runs required to challenge at the top end of the table.

They host Scalby, captained this season by Adam Waugh, on the opening day of the season.

Promoted Grindale and Wykeham will want to make an impression on the division.

Grindale’s key men are skipper Ian Cousins and his son Liam, while Wykeham are set to sign Kiwi pace man Marcus Edwards and his partnership with Dave Pearson will be key to their success.

Settrington will be looking to their family connections to fire them.

The Rounthwaite family make up a large portion of their side and they will be hoping to have a successful season with bat and ball.

Opening fixtures:

Cloughton v Nawton Grange, Grindale v Wold Newton, Sewerby 2nds v Brompton, Sherburn v Scalby, Wykeham v Settrington.

Division B

All eyes will be on Beckett League newcomers Mulgrave, who make their debut in division B after winning division A of the Derwent Valley League and subsequently bypassing division C.

Skipper Andrew Thompson, a batting all-rounder, will be keen to lead their charge this season, while pace man Michael Thompson will be looking to claim a few scalps.

They open their Beckett League account at Ryedale.

Ganton and Thornton Dale, both promoted from division C, will be looking to consolidate their status in the division this year.

Dale’s Chris Headlam will look to take the majority of their wickets, while Ganton skipper Stewart Ward’s form with the bat will be crucial to their chances of staying up.

Opening fixtures:

Forge Valley 2nds, Cayton 2nds, Ganton v Fylingdales, Ryedale v Mulgrave, Scarborough 3rds v Bridlington 2nds, Thornton Dale v Staxton 2nds.

Division C

The promotion race really is open in the Beckett League’s basement division.

With two sides being promoted out of the division and nobody coming down from division B due to the resignation of Duncombe Park 2nds, the league is reduced to nine teams for the season.

That could be further hampered if rumours about the future of one of Staithes CC’s teams turns out to be true.

Promoted Fylingdales 2nds will no doubt be keen to consolidate in the division after coming up as runners-up of the Derwent Valley’s top flight last season.

Staithes 2nds and Scalby 2nds, who were both in the promotion mix last season, will be keen to have their names in the top two positions come September.

Scalby’s new second team skipper Paul Marton will be looking to score the runs to take his team to promotion, while wily bowler Lee Oliver will look to fire Staithes.

Opening fixtures:

Heslerton 2nds v Ebberston 2nds, Scalby 2nds v Ravenscar, Seamer 2nds v Cloughton 2nds, Staithes 2nds v Wykeham 2nds.

Fylingdales 2nds- No game.

Next week:

Dewent Valley League and AndyHire Evening League season preview.