OFFICIALS at Malpas Cricket Club are insisting their return to competitive cricket this summer is a clean slate for all involved.

The club played no league cricket last summer as it felt it could no longer field enough players for both a first and second XI.

But they’re back in 2017, competing in the recently-merged CCL and Alliance League 1st XI Division 5 – and secretary and vice-chairman Nigel Shone says the future is brighter for Malpas.

“The writing was on the wall in 2015 but we thought we had the close season to sort things out,” said Nigel. “It didn’t happen – we lost two more players in 2016.

“We didn’t want to cancel each week so we went to the league and asked them what to do. They told us we could withdraw, which was a shock.

“They didn’t suggest fixture changes, which they might have done in January or February.

“After that, a few of us got involved again. We got some new faces on the management committee with some from the junior section.

“We’re more together and there’s more unity between the two sections. We have some strong voices on the committee, which is good.

“We’re confident we can see the season through – fingers crossed. We have got a team for the opening game at Frodsham on Saturday. with some top-of-the-range juniors who are ready to step up and four or five seasoned campaigners.”

Nigel, who has also served as president at the Wrexham Road club, added the club will run just one side, given last year’s events.

“We’re running just one team,  given the events of last year, and we’d like to thank all the groups who have supported our return.”

Anyone wishing to join the club’s senior or junior sections should contact Keith Rickett on 07872 044819 or Rupert Jackson on 07887 875151.

Whitchurch cricketers get their season under way on Saturday with a double-header friendly against Oswestry. The first teams will meet at Whitchurch in a game which be given added spice by the inclusion of ex-Oswestry players Alex Huxley and Dan Bowen in the home line-up.

Both sides expect to be close to full strength, although Oswestry’s Pakistani ace Sadaf Hussain is unlikely to have arrived in the country in time for the match.

The clubs’ second teams will face each other at Oswestry’s Morda Road ground, and both games start at 12.30pm.

Junior coaching at Whitchurch’s Heath Road ground gets under way tomorrow (Thursday) at 6.30pm.