The Summer weather of recent days has added to the enthusiasm the start of a new cricket season always brings.

No club is looking forward to the season more than Appleby as they return home after three seasons away, following the devastation caused by Storm Desmond. As I write we are a few weeks away from the completion of the pavilion.

The ground itself is better than it has ever been. It has been levelled, a new drainage system and a state-of-the-art pumping system installed to pump water back into the river after the inevitable flooding happens in the future.

The anticipation of being back has been shown in the attendances at nets both indoor and outdoor.

I am sure, too, other clubs will be keen to be back playing there and enjoying the facilities on offer.

The major change for the league this season is the new format for the League Cups.

Groups of four will play a festival format on Saturday, June 8 - 3 games of 20/20 cricket with the winners of each group going through to finals day in August.

In the Premiership, it is difficult to look beyond champions Carlisle II as they look to retain their title.

The club has recruited at senior level, so Olly Bradley has the nucleus of last season’s squad and more, making them even stronger than before.

They open up at Lanercost on Saturday and this will be an interesting clash. Lanercost, a young enthusiastic side who blow hot and cold at times. If they are up for it then a shock result could happen.

Elsewhere, things are very much as before with a few exceptions. Threlkeld, under new skipper Dan Thompson have lost Sam Sharp to Cockermouth.

Uncertainty over Ben Sharp and Ben Jefferson could make life difficult for them this season.

Rockcliffe will battle on as they always do. They were involved in some great games last season. Players of the calibre of Ashley Wills, Jonathon Musgrave and the Wharton clan will ensure they give most teams a fight.

Kirkby Stephen, again led by Charles Bowman, have lost James Bowman to Netherfield. At full-strength, Kirkby are a match for anyone. Chris Scarr and Rob Hook as good an opening attack in the League. Availability may again be their achilles heel.

Temple Sowerby, skippered by Michael Swindle this season, suffered with availability issues last season. Hopefully they can resolve things this time round.

Newly-promoted Wigton II and Scotby will have their work cut out as most promoted sides do initially. Scotby entertain Temple Sowerby on Saturday. Scotby, too, are now back home and have added covers and sight screen to their equipment. Luke Jakeman will skipper again this season although work commitments may affect his availability on occasions.

Wigton are stood down this week as the Premiership is operating with nine teams after Braithwaite asked to move to Division 2 following the mass exodus of many players in the close season.

Division One, I expect will be as competitive as last season. Appleby and Edenhall (third and fourth last season) clash on Saturday. Appleby will be looking for revenge after losing twice last season to their hosts and will be stronger than previous seasons with Joe Davidson, Tony Ousby and Chris Kirkpatrick available again.

Unfortunately, Josh Bellas has badly damaged his finger in an accident at work and will be missing for some weeks.

Relegated Stainton and Staffield meet up again at Stainton. Promoted Patterdale host Carlisle III and Carleton visit Wetheral. Keswick II and Langholm are stood down.

Division Two and the Sunday League both start with full programmes.

Relegated Nunwick and Gamblesby will look to bounce back quickly but don’t discount Kirkby Stephen II – some young talent here.

Good Luck to everyone!



Caldbeck v Kirkby Stephen

Lanercost v Carlisle II

Scotby v Temple Sowerby

Threlkeld v Rockcliffe

Wigton II stood down


Edenhall v Appleby Eden

Patterdale v Carlisle III

Stainton v Staffield

Wetheral v Carleton

Keswick VI and Langholm stood down


Camblesby v Penrith III

Irthing Vale v Caldbeck IV

Kirkby Stephen II v Nunwick

Temple Sowerby II v Braithwaite

Lanercost II stood down


Caldbeck Colts v Wigton III

Carlisle IV v Keswick III

Langholm II v Appleby Eden II

Stainton II v Dumfries

Lanercost stood down