AFTER all the poor weather, cricket clubs across the district will be hoping the new season can finally get underway in the Bradford and Central Yorkshire Leagues a fortnight later than planned.
Cleckheaton are hoping to receive clearance from Yorkshire to allow opening bowler Iain Wardlaw to play as they face two tough games against the Pudsey duo.
John Wood takes his Moorenders to Pudsey St Lawrence for their opening game in Bradford League Division One tomorrow before Cleckheaton entertain Congs in the first round of the Priestley Cup on Sunday (matches atrt 1pm).
The Congs game is certainly the tie of the first round and with East Bierley, Hartshead Moor, Spen Victoria and Woodlands all receiving byes, there could be a good deal of local interest.
Woodlands are the only local Bradford League side to have managed to get in a competitive game of sorts this time as they met Central Yorkshire champions Wrenthorpe in a challenge match on April 15 before a deluge delayed the start of the season proper.
Woodlands players will no doubt be chomping at the bit to get their Division One title defence underway as they welcome Hanging Heaton to Oakenshaw tomorrow.
The majority of last season’s title-winning side remain this time, with Pieter Swanepoel again to lead the Oakenshaw men, ably supported by the likes of Chris Brice, Scott Richardson, Sam Frankland and Tim Orrell.
East Bierley were dealt a blow in the days before the season was due to start on April 21 when two of their leading players left the club.
Gharib Razak opted to join relegated Baildon, while opening bowler Paul Hutchison, who lifted the Priestley Cup as Bierley captain in 2009, left for St Lawrence.
Bierley welcome Bradford & Bingley to South View Road in their opening game tomorrow.
Baildon were stunned to be relegated last term, just two years after winning the first division title and they will be regarded as the team everyone wants to beat this time.
First to get that chance are Hartshead Moor, who themselves will hope to mount a promotion challenge this time.
Gomersal, another side looking to bounce straight back after relegation, start with a tricky trip to Bowling Old Lane.
Spen Victoria entertain Brighouse, who finished bottom of the league, at Spen Lane.
Gomersal embark on the Priestley Cup trail on Sunday with a home first round tie against Keighley, which means the second team begin their Shield defence with a trip to Hard Ings Road.
Liversedge flirted with promotion from Central Yorkshire League Division One for much of last summer before they fell away badly late on to finish fifth.
The Roberttown Lane side will again be much changed this time and they start their league campaign at home to Methley A tomorrow (1pm).
However, it will be Sunday’s Jack Hampshire Trophy first round tie which will have the Liversedge members licking their lips as they come up against old rivals Birstall.
This is regarded by many as one of few traditional derbies left in the CYL and two of the Liversedge stars from yesteryear look set to lock horns.
Mark Hydes, who has returned to the club this season, is likely to come up against his former opening batsman partner Paul Marlow.
Scholes have been handed a bye in the Hampshire first round but begin their first division campaign at home to Oulton tomorrow.
While the majority of clubs were left kicking their heels in frustration last weekend, one team who did manage to get some cricket in were Heckmondwike and Carlinghow B as they defeated hosts Cartworth Moor by seven wickets in Section D of the Huddersfield Central League.