STAMFORD begin their quest to become South Lincs and Border League champions with a trip to Grantham tomorrow.
Runners-up to Billingborough last year, the two look likely to be among the front-runners again this summer, and Stamford’s Andrew Hulme is determined to see the side go one better this year.
“We only lost narrowly last year to Billingborough and I think we can win it this year,” said batsman and wicketkeeper Hulme, who as well as being Town’s vice-captain on Saturdays, skippers the Sunday side in the Rutland League.
“Nets sessions have been pretty good; probably the best in a long time.”
Perhaps surprisingly given that Stamford’s long term aim is to top the Saturday league and apply for a place in the Lincolnshire Premier League, Hulme says the club views the Rutland League on Sundays as their priority.
“Certainly for now, Sunday is the priority but it’s a difficult league. You are really looking at the likes of Oundle or Peterborough to be near the top.
“Last year we were fifth or sixth and if we can better that it would be fantastic.”
Division one of the Rutland League features several other local rivals in the likes of Bourne, Barnack and Uppingham, who will provide Stamford’s first opposition, at home, on April 29.
Many of the Stamford’s cricketers play on Saturdays and Sundays for either the 1st or 2nd XI, and with the exception of Hulme, who returns from Nottingham to play for his former home, the majority of players are Stamford-based.
“It will be a similar side to last year,” said Hulme, suggesting the form of all-rounder Tom Williams, batsman and Saturday skipper Liam Davé and opening bowler Michael Jones will have a large bearing on Stamford’s season.
“We have a lot of younger lads who will be available once school and university terms have finished,” he added, suggesting a bounce in the second half of the season as the number of players available grows.
By teatime tomorrow the Saturday 1st XI at the very least, will have a better idea how the season could progress. Tomorrow’s match at Grantham starts at 1pm.
l STAMFORD has run a colts system since the mid 1980s and this year will run junior sides at five different age levels.
Outdoor sessions for juniors are free and begin on Wednesday (6.15-7.45pm) and will continue until July 25.
During the first three Wednesdays the club will hold registration nights where any juniors who plan to continue attending the outdoor sessions or to represent one of the teams should sign up. Junior Membership will be £25
l MARKET Deeping 2nd XI play Spalding at Outgang Road in the only other match in the South Lincs and Border League this weekend.
The season then starts in earnest on April 21.