TEAMS from across the region will begin their pursuit of glory this weekend as the North Wales Premier Division season gets underway.
The league begins on Saturday in what is expected to be another hotly contested campaign, with a number of fancied sides looking to dethrone champions Llandudno to claim the crown.
Last season’s winners won’t give up their title without a fight, and they possess a great deal of strength-in-depth as they look to make it back-to-back successes this term.
Skipper Jack Rimmington will lead The Oval side once again, while overseas star Robin Smith has penned a deal to remain at the club and his form will also be key to their progress.
As was the case last term, a number of exceptional young talents will also be catching the eye, including the likes of Rydal Penrhos School pupil and former Wales U15 captain Will Sissons and batting sensation Danial Evans.
They face a tough start to the season when the host a dangerous Mochdre outfit, who are also expected to be among the challengers after securing a high-profile star from abroad to spearhead their title push.
Australian Patrick Glover has joined the club from Olympic Dam Cricket Club, and he was named “RDCA Player of the year” in season 2015/16 taking 17 wickets at an average of 12.53 and scoring 304 runs with an average of 38.
One of the league’s standout performers Francois Mostert will once again put on the whites for Bangor, and they open their campaign with a home clash against newly promoted Chirk, who are skippered by Andrew Swarbrick.
The South African all-rounder will look to improve on a phenomenal 2016 season which saw him amass 68 wickets at a strike rate of just 17.73, while also hitting 514 runs (39.74).
He will be aided by batsman of the year Nadeem Rehman, who won the award after hitting eight half centuries on his way to a 63.5 average.
Dion Holden will take over the responsibility of captain at Menai Bridge this season as they look to get back the title they lost to a spirited Tudno side last term.
The batsman, who has been working at the MCC Foundation Hub throughout the off-season, will be looking to get off to a winning start at a strong Brymbo side, and any success that Bridge will have will depend on the skipper and compatriots Zach Ringrose and Robbie Jones, who are regarded as two of the brightest talents operating in the division.
Stuart Griffiths leads a Denbigh side that will be looking to make an impact in their second season, and the likes of Harrison Jones, Joe Clayton, Gerallt Lyall and New Zealander Jackson Braddock-Pajo are going to be huge factors during the summer.
St Asaph are considered by many to be dark horses under the leadership of Will Ryan, and they pack plenty of firepower on both sides of the ball in the form of Matt Ryan, Paul Fleming.
They open their fixtures against a Llanrwst side who will be looking for a similar start to last season, which saw them in the higher echelons of the division before slipping down the standings.