The distinctive sound of willow thudding against leather will echo around local sporting grounds on Saturday, signalling the start of the highly competitive Liverpool Cricket Competition.
Rainhill are the only St Helens borough club in the premier division and couldn't have hand-picked a tougher first assignment than a trip to defending champions Northern.
Rainford, who were relegated last season to the first division, launch their campaign with a home fixture against Welsh club, Prestatyn, while Newton-le-Willows entertain Sefton Park.
In division two, St Helens Town will be firmly setting their sights on promotion and have made a couple of significant signings which will strengthen their hand.
They have recruited 21-year-old Anguilla-based all-rounder Jaidel Richardson and former junior Wilf Griffiths, who has returned to the club from Orrell.
Town travel to relegated Burscough on Saturday and will be hoping their recruitment drive will pay immediate dividends, while neighbours Sutton are away to Alder.
Other divisional fixtures include: Ainsdale 2nd X1 v Rainford 2nd X1, Sutton 2nd X1 v Wavertree 2nd X1, Rainhill 2nd X1 v Newton-le-Willows 2nd X1 (to be played on Sunday), St Helens Town 2nd X1 v Fleetwood Hesketh.
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