IT IS all change at Shaw where there is a new-look team for their division 2A campaign in the Greater Manchester Cricket League.
The Holebottom Clough club has a new professional, overseas amateur and five new signings including the return of former players Graeme Simpson, Brian Lord and Jack Pilling.
The club is looking for a new start after a traumatic finish to their debut season in the GMCL after professional Marques Ackerman and overseas player Justin Watson were badly injured after being attacked on a night out in Oldham.
Shaw had been challenging for promotion until that point, but afterwards the season unravelled.
“We lost our momentum and the incident took all the fun out of playing. It was a disappointing end to the season,” explained captain Steven Whiston.
“We are excited by the new season and there is a feel-good factor back at the club where everybody is pulling in the same direction.
“Last season we went into the new season blind and came up a touch short because we lacked depth to the team.
“We addressed that and have a stronger squad to last season.
“It is great to have Brian Lord and Jack Pilling back as maybe they left because of a lack of ambition which is certainly not the case now.”
Shaw had signed Sri Lankan Dilanka Sandakan, a 22-year-old batsman/left arm slow bowler, as their professional.
He replaces Aussie Luke Zanchetta after the 32-year-old bowling all-rounder was announced as their pro last October only to since pull out due to issues gaining a visa.
Shaw are close to capturing an overseas player, but will not be revealing his identity until the formalities are completed.
They had initially signed 20-year-old South African Tristan Coetzee but that fell through again through visa issues.
The demise of Saddleworth, who have suffered an exodus of players forcing them to voluntarily drop two divisions, has benefited Shaw who have recruited three of their players.
Batsman/wicketkeeper Brian Lord is a former junior player at Shaw and batting all-rounder Danny Poole is a former Saddleworth captain while Jack Boyle was an opening bowler for Saddleworth.
Shaw have also brought Simpson back to Shaw from Delph where he was a member of their hugely successful side. Simpson was also part of Shaw’s glory years of the 1990s. Pilling has returned home after a spell at Rochdale.
“We are stronger than last season and have a squad of 13/14 players who are all experienced and who have been part of successful sides so we are well equipped for the season,” explained Whiston.
Shaw start the season at home to Werneth on Saturday, April 20 in a game featuring two of the favourites for promotion.
Shaw have been allowed to rejig a fixture list that initially had them playing eight of their first 10 games at home.
“It meant we had no home game in June and July which put the club in an unsustainable position,” explained Whiston.
• Shaw have also signed multiple Ashes winner Graeme Swann who will be speaker at the sportsman’s dinner on September 6 at St Annes Rugby Club. Tickets are £35 or £325 for a table of 10.
• Oldham nightclub Liquid Envy is sponsoring Shaw’s T20 kit for the 2019 campaign.