St Helens clubs ready for cricket season openers
We are back at last! That's the poignant message from cricket clubs who compete in the Liverpool Competition which gets under way on Saturday - and, fingers crossed, will be able to complete all their fixtures by mid-September.
The 2020 campaign was wrecked by the pandemic and while it seems the country is now on the road to recovery, no one is taking anything for granted at this stage and that's why stringent Government rules and regulations are still in force.
It is also a special year for Rainhill who celebrate their 150th anniversary and wouldn't it be a feather in their cap if they were able to claim the premier division title for the first time, but that may be wishful thinking.
Rainhill - established in 1871 - will be one of the underdogs but can point to the fact that they finished a creditable third in 2017.
In division one, Rainford will be keen to shed their unwanted yo-yo image - promoted one season and relegated the next - and despite losing the vastly experienced Dave Snellgrove, they will most likely be among the title contenders.
They have also signed South African teenager Jason Login, an early order batsman and leg spinner, as well as seam bowler Ray Cosgrave from Skelmanthorpe, Yorkshire.
Captain John Dotters said: ''We've had quite a bit of past success in this division and know how to go about it. 'We just need to execute our skills.''
He added: "Whoever gets off to a flier, especially with everyone in the same boat due to Covid-19, will fancy their chances of promotion and hopefully it will be us.''
Saturday's opening fixtures - premier division: Formby v Northern, Leigh v Bootle, Orrell Red Triangle v Rainhill, Sefton Park v Ormskirk, Wigan v New Brighton, Wallasey v Southport and Birkdale..
Division one v : Birkenhead Park v Ainsdale, Fleetwood Hesketh v Northop Hall, Highfield v Rainford, Lytham v St Helens Town, Newton-le-Willows v Colwyn Bay, Old Xavarians v Liverpool.
Division two: Alder v Spring View, Norley Hall v Maghull, Southport Trinity v Parkfield Liscard, Sutton v Caldy, Wavertree v Prestatyn.
Second X1 (premier division): Bootle v Wallasey, Liverpool v Orrell Red Triangle, New Brighton v Newton-le-Willows, Northern v Formby Ormskirk v Sefton Park.
Second X1 ( division one): Ainsdale v Birkenhead Park, Colwyn Bay v Highfield, Northop Hall v Wavertree, Rainford v Wigan, Rainhill v Old Xavarians, Spring View v Leigh.
Second X1 ( second division) : Caldy v Alder, Maghull v Norley Hall, Parkfield Liscard v Sutton, Prestatyn v Fleetwood Hesketh, St HelensTown v Southport Trinity.