SHAW will be bidding to bowl over the opposition and win promotion from division 2A in their debut season in the Greater Manchester Cricket League.
While there was disappointment at being placed in the third tier of the league – most other local clubs were placed in the second following the demise of the Pennine League – captain Steven Whiston is philosophical.
He said: “We understand that in the last three or four years the club has under-performed and we would have liked to be higher.
“If we are good enough, we will get promoted. And I would like to think we will be very strong.”
Shaw have a South African pairing as professional and overseas player.
Professional is Marques Ackerman, a 22-year-old middle order batsman and off spin bowler who played for Dolphins in the Rand Slam.
Ackerman, a former South Africa U19 player, plays first-class cricket for KwaZulu-Natal. He replaces Sajid Mahmood, the former Lancashire and England pace bowler who was last season’s pro.
He has been joined by overseas player Justin Watson, an opening quick bowler and middle order power batsman.
Shaw has an otherwise similar side to last season when they finished fifth in the Pennine League’s Championship.
The standout performer was Sri Lankan Tharshan Thayalan who scored 400 runs and took close to 40 wickets and he is again expected to be a key player.
Shaw-born Whiston is looking forward to the new adventure in the GMCL, though he is no stranger to travelling as he has previously played for Sale and Widnes in the Cheshire League and Rainhill in the Liverpool Competition.
Whiston, who returned to Shaw last year, is also excited by the GMCL T20 competition and has been grouped with Heyside, Royton, Littleborough Lakeside, Heywood and Thornham.
HEYSIDE will, remarkably, be playing in their fourth league and fifth different division in the space of a remarkable five years.
The latest chapter in division 1A of the GMCL follows spells in the Saddleworth League, CLL and Pennine League.
“It has been mental, but hopefully it will settle down,” explained captain Ryan Barnes.
Like Shaw, Heyside have a South African pairing as professional and overseas player.
The pro is Somila Seyibokwe, a top-order batsman and medium-pace bowler who has played at Denton West for the last two years.
They have recruited David Scheirhout as overseas player. The right arm off-spinner played in the GMCL last year for Brooksbottom when he claimed 49 wickets and had a highest score of 151.
Scheirhout, a top order batsman and off-spin bowler from Cape Town, replaces South African Marco van Viljon, an 18-year-old pace bowler/middle order batsman who was unable to get a VISA.
Heyside have lost three players as left-arm spinner Danny Cashin has moved to Crompton, batsman Max Power has returned to Milnrow while all-rounder Scott Bloor has retired.
Barnes, who will be captain for a fourth season, said: “We didn’t have an overseas player last year so hopefully he can get 500 runs and take 50 wickets.
“It will be an opportunity for other players on the fringe of the first team to step up and prove themselves.”
Barnes is looking forward to the derby against Royton, believing it will be their first-ever meeting in a competitive fixture.
Off the field, Heyside’s ground has a new name after the club has struck a sponsorship deal. Little Hey Street now becomes the Supply My Building Materials Oval.
Booths Garden Centre remains the club’s main sponsor and the deal will help the club to maintain and improve its facilities.
ROYTON captain James Maurice-Scott believes his side will be a force in division 1A of the GMCL.
“We can bat down to No 11 and have heavy artillery in the bowling department so am confident we will do well,” he said.
There is continuity as Indian Chirag Khurana, 25, is back as professional for a third season.
Last season he scored 1,500 runs and took more than 60 wickets as Royton finished runner-up in the Pennine League, Championship.
He will be joined by overseas player Michael Sobers, a right-arm pace bowler who plays for Spartans in the Barbados Premier League. He had a best return of 7-35 last season.
Wicketkeeper Craig Joy has arrived from Austerlands, but opening bowler Matthew Smith has retired.
“Matthew took 59 wickets last season so will be a massive loss,” explained Maurice-Scott who previously played for Flowery Field, Denton St Lawrence, Thornham and Rochdale.
Maurice-Scott, who joined Royton in 2015, is looking forward to the GMCL.
He said: “We were out of the catchment area for the Lancashire League and this is not a bad move.
“A lot of the teams in our division are from the old Lancashire County League with a sprinkling from the Saddleworth League and GMCL.
“It is a venture into the unknown but, from my experiences playing in other leagues, I am confident we will have a good season.”
21: Elton Vale (A)
28: L’boro Lakeside (H)
5: Glossop 2ndX1 (A)
12: Werneth (H)
19: Prestwich 2nd X1 (A)
26: Micklehurst (H)
2: East Lancs Paper Mill (A)
9: Droylsden (H)
16: Westleigh (H)
23: Elton (A)
30: Clifton 2nd X1 (H)
7: Elton Vale (H)
14: L’boro Lakeside (A)
21: Glossop 2nd X1 (H)
28: Werneth (A)
4: Prestwich 2nd X1 (H)
11: Micklehurst (A)
18: East Lancs Paper Mill (H)
25: Droylsden (A)
1: Westleigh (A)
8: Elton (H)
15: Clifton 2nd X1 (A)