Readers Lincolnshire ECB Premier Leagu
The Easter weekend will welcome cricket matches countywide as the major leagues begin their programmes.
In the Readers ECB Premier League, all eyes will be on the newly-promoted teams, Billingborough and Market Rasen.
Billingborough, whose first match is at home to Bourne, declared their intent with the signing of former Lincolnshire, Middlesex and Surrey seamer Jonathan Miles and Australian Nathan Mill.
But the village side, skippered by David Gollop, will be up against formidable opposition as the winners of the 2013 Winkworth Cup bring back a familiar face from the early days of the league.
As a student in Grantham, West Indian Neval Grazette quickly made his mark for both Grantham and Boston and now returns as Bourne’s overseas signing.
Fellow newcomers Market Rasen, with Matt Rutherford at the helm, face an equally hard game at Jubilee Park against last year’s league runners-up Woodhall Spa.
Prasanna Jayawardene’s recall to the Sri Lankan squad, which the player credits to his season at Woodhall, means he may not appear in the league this season, but prolific batsman Ben O’Brien returns and the home side are hoping to unveil a replacement overseas player shortly.
However, a good number of the Rasen team, including the captain have ECB League experience and will be eagerly anticipating the challenge.
League champions Sleaford, who travel to Lindum, will welcome the return of record breaking Kiwi batsman Tim McIntosh whose 1,203 runs helped his side to 2013 success.
A number of Lindum players have spent the winter in Melbourne and have repaid that hospitality by bringing over two of their teammates to boost their first-team squad while Jonny Miller’s side have also signed Sam Fuller from Fenner CC in Hull.
Skegness travel to Bracebridge Heath with a new captain, Norman Brackley, and a number of fresh faces.
The seasiders suffered a blow with the late withdrawal of overseas signing Dylan Stanley through injury, but welcome the arrival of Scott Tallott, a member of the New Zealand Under-19 squad.
The 17-year-old, who has played Premier Club cricket, will solve the Skegness wicket keeping problems and add fire to their batting line-up.
Bracebridge also field a changed team, having lost Vikram Atri and David Whapplington, but with Paul Cook continuing as captain and stalwarts Nick John and Brett Houston in the side, Skegness face a hard game.
Grimsby have also lost key players including skipper Jim Morgan who has moved from the area.
Steve Crossley takes over and recognises that 2014 is going to be a huge challenge for a team that will include many of the club’s up-and-coming juniors.
Grimsby will take to the field at Louth who have made a very useful signing in Sri Lankan Amila Weththasinghe.
Louth will also be hoping to see more of England’s star batter Arran Brindle following her retirement from international competition.
Having survived their first season in the top flight, Spalding go into the season with renewed confidence.
Warren Nel continues at the top of the batting order and skipper Rob Ambrose is promising some surprises among their new signings.
Travelling to Spalding are Market Deeping who finished fifth last year and will once again be challenging for honours under the continuing captaincy of David Gillett.
Fixtures - Billingborough v Bourne; Bracebridge Heath v Skegness; Louth v Grimsby; Spalding v Market Deeping; Woodhall Spa v Market Rasen.