THE long awaited new cricket season burst into life on Saturday and the signs were promising that 2014 could be a bit special.

Yes, I know I can stand accused of often saying that, but both batsmen and bowlers shone in the sunshine and the gripes and groans of winter were very much a thing of the past.

There were big displays in the new look Ribblesdale League with a clutch of outstanding performances at the start of a campaign that promises to be very different to previous ones.

The league has seen an overhaul for this season with the top flight split into two groups.

So we have Section A and Section B and to add extra interest those clubs not only play each other twice but those from the other section once.

I really hope the new set-up works because the people in charge of the competition have had a torrid few months with the keyboard warriors very quick to have their say.

Initially there was going to be promotion and relegation in and out of the Senior League but that has gone after protests from so many.

And while there is never a way to make everyone feel happy and content, this set-up may just work.

When people clamour for change – and there was much clamour from folk – there is never a right way to do things. But it promises to be an exciting season, although the big hitters all started in ominious form.

Likewise the Lancashire League on Sunday.

There has been no change in that competition but it still threw up some great stories with new Colne pro Ali Azmat thrilling and Church’s Levi Wolfenden outstanding.

In both leagues, the cricket was pretty much the winner.



Cherry Tree skipper Mark Hadfield is confident of a better season this year after the turmoil of last, even though his men started with defeat at the hands of a very impressive Baxenden outfit.

That defeat was nothing to do with Hadfield, though.

He claimed five wickets and then hit a half-century and probably didn’t deserve to finish on the losing side as his men fell short in a run chase at Preston Old Road.