With summer fast approaching, local cricketers are starting the new season with high hopes.
Last year brought mixed fortunes for Observer-area sides, so what of the campaign to come?
In part one of a two-part season preview, James Sandford runs the rule over teams in the West Sussex Invitation League and Hampshire League.
Send your cricket reports and team pictures this season to firstname.lastname@example.org
A tough campaign last time around saw Selsey’s first XI finish second bottom in division one of the Invitation League, relegating them to division two.
The second team fared slightly better, ending fourth in division nine, where they will compete again this term.
Captains Dave Benham and Craig Mason are both aiming for promotion and with very little player movement the club should have a sound base.
Selsey’s Ricky Halpin said: “We’re looking at developing some of our younger talent and would like to think we can finish in the top half of the table.”
The visit of the all-star Lashings team on June 8 is hugely anticipated at Selsey.
Aldwick, whose first team is captained by Joel Lodge, narrowly missed out on Invitation League promotion in the last game of the season.
Lodge hopes to rectify this by achieving promotion to division two - and not leaving it until the final overs of the year.
The second team shared the agony of missing out on promotion, finishing fourth in division seven.
New captain Matt Robinson hopes the form of Grant Wilson with the ball will see them to success.
The squad has remained the same with no major ins or outs. They will need every man they can get as the look to fulfil 100 fixtures in 2014.
The club’s Richard Galvin said: “2014 is an important year for the club with a long-term lease in negotiation and a new clubhouse becoming a reality.”
West Wittering continued their meteoric rise up through the West Sussex Invitation League last year with both of their teams winning promotion.
The first XI were the champions of division five, meaning they have been promoted three seasons running.
Club captain Carl Tupper said: “We hope the club continues to move forward - promotion for the second team is a priority for this season.”
The addition of Matt Jewiss and the development of the colts’ section things mean continue to look bright at Millennium Meadow.
Midhurst will be looking to make a big impression in division two of the Hampshire League this season after relegation from the top flight.
Richard Gough will skipper the first XI at The Ruins while Simon Lush will lead the seconds in regional division one south.
It was a mixed year for Emsworth in 2013. The first and third teams both struggled in their Hampshire League divisions, finishing 12th and 15th.
Perhaps the bright spot was the third-place finish for the club’s second team.
The first team will again be in division four south of the county set-up. As no new faces have been introduced in terms of the men’s playing staff, much focus will be on the new ladies’ team who are getting ready for their first competitive fixture.
Captains Mark Martin, Mark Windebank and Malcolm Mabe all share the same view as club secretary Nick Webb, who said: “As always, we will play for promotion for each of the teams and hopefully have a good season where the majority of the games are unaffected by the weather.”
After finishing fifth in Hampshire League’s regional division three south-east, Salthill were promoted to division two in a league shake-up as they were the highest points scorers across three divisions.
Salthill lost their first two matches last season in the league but then went on an incredible run, losing only once again all season. Alec Wallsgrove continues to skipper the Saturday league team but has to contend with the loss of two regulars who have departed.
Andy Beal, a prominent figure at the club, said: “Salthill will be looking for at least a mid-table finish this eason at the higher level.”
All the clubs involved spoke of their willingness to accept new members, officials and supporters so please ensure they all get your support.
Keep reading the Observer for reports, pictures, fixtures, results and tables.
We’ll also have a weekly round-up of local village teams’ matches.
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