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An End Has a Start

Westmorland Cricket League 2023 season: club by club guide Part 3

The Westmorland Cricket League (WCL) starts its 2023 season for Division 1, 2 and 3 teams this Saturday.

The Division 4A and 4B teams commence play on Sunday May 7.

In our third preview of the 2023 Westmorland Cricket League Season we take a look at Shireshead & Forton, Silverdale, Trimpell, Warton and finally Westgate.

Shireshead & Forton hail from one of the more rural and lesser populated parts of North Lancashire. Some may think that attracting players may be an issue, but this club have a very impressive roster across nearly all age levels with junior teams from ages nine to 19, a women and girls team and four senior teams who all play in the WCL.

Dave Jack takes over from Tom Jacques as the first team captain heading into the new season while Mike Mead remains the second team captain.

Paul Coulton takes over from Jonty Collinson as third team captain, with Collinson becoming the captain of the new fourth team. Amy Creed is the women and girls captain.

The 1sts finished the 2022 season in a respectable fourth place in what was a very competitive Division 1.

In the divisional cup it wasn’t to be for Shireshead & Forton as they suffered a semi-final defeat by eight wickets against Westgate 1sts on finals day at Netherfield. Burneside 1sts eventually went on to win the WCL top divisional trophy later that day.

The 2023 season will hopefully see the 1sts progress to a higher placed finish in Division 1 and the season gets underway this Saturday at home with the visit of Arnside 1sts. The following Saturday another home division 1 fixture awaits against Holme 1sts.

In this year’s divisional cup which the 1sts will want more than ever their first group game is away at Warton on Monday May 22. The home game will be on Monday June 5 against Bare.

The 2nds start their Division 2 campaign away at Sedbergh School 2nds and have a great chance of winning the division this summer after finishing second place to a fantastic Holme 1st team last year, both clubs finishing a country mile ahead of the other ten teams in Division 2.

It wasn’t a wasted season by the 2nds who won the divisional cup beating rivals Holme on finals day at Milnthorpe. The cup group games this summer are away at Milnthorpe 1sts on Monday May 22, then a home game against Heysham 2nds on Monday June 5.

This year the old WCL Division 4 has been split into two regional divisions - 4A & 4B - and Shireshead & Forton have a team in each, and one team is new to the league altogether.

Both 3rd & 4th teams will play their league games mainly on Sundays. Both 4A & 4B clubs will merge to play in the Moon & Coxhill Divisional Trophy and these games will be played midweek. There are no group games in the cup, it will simply be a knockout competition.

The 3rds will play their first league game on Sunday May 7 away at Kirkby Lonsdale 2nds. The 3rds finished in fourth place in the old Division 4 last summer in a very tight battle with Burneside 2nds, Bare 2nds & Morecambe 4ths, with Burneside ultimately winning.

Their first home fixture is a week later against Heysham 3rds. The first divisional cup game is on Friday June 2 and its away at Westgate 3rds at 6pm. Last season the 3rds left the cup in the first round at Coniston 2nds.

The 4ths are an unknown quantity as they are a new team but will be looking to show their worth as soon as they can. The 4ths’ first ever game is on Sunday June 25 and is away at Burneside 3rds.

Silverdale 1sts finished 2022 in fourth place in Division 2 and start 2023 with an away trip to Netherfield 3rds. Their first Division 2 home game at Cove Road is against Coniston 2nds a week later.

Last year’s divisional cup ended at the group games for the 1sts, so advancing further this summer would be great for the team, captain Phil Mason and the club.

The first group game this year is away at Morecambe 3rds on Thursday May 11.Then a home match against Westgate 2nds on Monday May 22.

The 2nds will want to improve on their 7th place finish in Division 3 last year with a first day home win against Holme 2nds this Saturday. Last year, Silverdale did make it to the divisional cup quarter finals but lost to Arnside 2nds by 10 wickets.

This summer’s divisional group games see the 2nds play Arnside 2nds on Monday May 1 at home, followed by an away game at Leven Valley 1sts on Monday May 29. The 2nds will be captained in 2023 by David Hones.

Silverdale like many other of our local community cricket clubs are encouraging junior boys and girls to play cricket and are running All Stars Cricket Camps for ages 5-8 years as well as Dynamos Cricket Camps for ages 8-11 years. Both camps will start in May.

Related story: Cricket camps for kids set to start in North Lancashire - Beyond Radio

Trimpell’s first team had a 2022 season that no cricket club would want, having to withdraw their from Division 1 in late June as they could not fulfil their fixtures.

Trimpell’s 2nd XI who last year played in Division 3 were unaffected and went on to complete the season, finishing in third place.

This year Trimpell will field one senior XI captained by Sam Freear and will play in Division 3. The team will start with a home game with Carnforth 3rds this Saturday at 1pm.

In the divisional cup group games, the club face Bolton le Sands at home on Monday May 1 then an away game against Carnforth 3rds on Monday May 29.

Warton are a one (senior) team club, and they play in Division 1 of the WCL. Last season they finished mid-table in seventh place.

The first Division 1 game of the season sees them travel to one of the league’s new teams Morecambe 2nds. The following Saturday will see a home match against 2022 runners up Heysham 1sts.

In the Hackney & Leigh Divisional 1 Cup, Warton reached the quarter final before being defeated by Shireshead & Forton 1sts. In this year’s group games the first match is against the same opposition at home on Monday May 22. The away game is at Bare 1sts on Monday June 19. Team Captain Stuart Mayor will be hoping to take his team further this season.

Westgate are going places. The 1st XI who won the Westmorland Cricket League Division 1 last year for the eighth Championship this century has now taken the option to leave the WCL and give the next level of the game in the Palace Shield Cricket League their best shot, in a very ambitious move for the club.

The club are still represented in the Westmorland Cricket League with two other teams.

The 2nds will hope to carry on the good name of Westgate Cricket Club in the WCL and will start the season this Saturday at 1.30pm with a Division 2 home game against Ambleside 1sts. On the following Saturday they have another home game against Morecambe 3rds at 1pm.

Westgate 2nds finished the 2022 season in seventh place. This season, with the 1sts departing the WCL for pastures new, it should give the 2nds the encouragement and a clear path to do well in the division and aim for the top tier.

In the divisional cup the 2nds reached the quarter-final last year only to be beaten by a rampant Holme 1st in the quarter-final. This year the 2nds’ cup group games are firstly away at Silverdale 1sts on Monday May 22, then at home on Tuesday June 6 against Morecambe 3rds. The 2nds captain for 2023 is Jacob Vaughan.

The 3rds, captained by Peter Wilson, finished 5th in the old Division 4 last summer. In 2023 the team will be in the new (regional) 4A Division. The first fixture this year will be on Sunday May 7, away against Heysham 3rds.

In the divisional cup Round 1 the 3rds will face Shireshead & Forton 3rds at home on Friday June 2.

For some clubs it is apparent not just locally but nationally that there are struggles to attract players to take up cricket. We are days away from the start of the 2023 season and many cricket clubs’ social media channels are still appealing for players & volunteers to help run these historic community clubs.

Some good news is that the people running cricket nationally are taking some positive steps to address the issue and with schemes like the children’s All Stars & Dynamos cricket camps, it will hopefully encourage more people to play the sport going forward.

James Main, the WCL Communication Officer, will be speaking about the forthcoming cricket season on Beyond Radio’s Saturday Sports Sho

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