SLAITHWAITE escaped relegation from the Drakes Premiership by the skin of their teeth last season, when one point from their defeat to League champions Honley on the final day proved crucial.
That left them tied on 48 points with Broad Oak, but with more outright wins, therefore condemning their Colne Valley rivals to the drop into the Championship.
The coming season promises to be equally tough for the Hill Top club, having lost their opening strike bowling attack of Ibrar Younis (to Elland), while former skipper Ronan Bruce is expected to play just as a batsman following a long-standing leg injury, on top of which Greg Alexander has returned to Holmfirth.
So much will depend on the quality of their new recruits, as under wicketkeeper Ian Holt who is set to take up the reins as skipper this season, the club aim to preserve their Premiership status.
They have already lined up an all-rounder from Batley in the Central Yorkshire League in the shape of Kashif Talib, who will be joined by opening bowler and top order batsman David Hutchinson, who is an English-qualified Aussie from Canberra.
Talib has represented the Central Yorkshire in their White Rose side, while 28-year-old Hutchinson, although not a grade-rated cricketer, and like last year’s Aussie Chris Connors is coming over mainly for the experience, could prove to be a valuable asset.
The club have also recruited Dave Longworth from Thornhill & Westborough, while two more captures are Jamie Clayton, who was unable to force his way into Scholes’ first team last season, and Sam Gill, who is expected to move along the valley from Golcar.
Clayton is a very useful batsman, but who was unable to command a place in Scholes’ first team (and was subsequently left out of their Paddock Shield-winning side also) but should get plenty of opportunity at Slaithwaite, while Golcar’s Gill is another on the verge of the first eleven at Swallow Lane, who should get a better chance at Hill Top.
Last season’s top run-scorer Wajid Hussain will be aiming to add to the 750-run total last summer, while Bjorn Taylor is another important member of the side, returning for another season at Slaithwaite.
And although the club are still looking they are hopeful of landing an overseas player before opening day on April 21.