LONGWOOD Bowling Club and Lower Hopton begin their Manchester Premier League campaign tonight (7.30).

Longwood have a tough start when Andrew Cairns brings his star-studded Budenbergs team to Longwood while Lower Hopton travel to the Nursery, Stockport.

Lower Hopton’s first home fixture is the following Wednesday, April 9, when they host last year’s League winners Tonge BC.

Tonge have top players Gary Ellis, Jimmy Derby and Darren Griffiths in their side and Hopton have recruited last year’s Waterloo winner Chris Mordue and fellow Yorkshire county bowler Craig Newton for the Premier League in a bid to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish.

The Huddersfield Liberal League, which kicks off on Monday, has a new format this season with Milnsbridge Lib fielding two teams.

That means there will be 10 teams in Section A and 11 in Section B resulting in two byes for Section A, due to an odd number of teams in Section B.

The Liberal League committee might address this next season, by adding teams to their sections if possible.

Almondbury Lib and Milnsbridge Lib are sponsoring the League’s two merits.

Almondbury are backing the Liberal Mixed Pairs and Milnsbridge Lib, the Liberal Merit.

Meanwhile, Almondbury Lib A will be vying for a hat trick of league titles this season, having won the league in 2006 and 2007.

While in Section B, Almondbury B and Primrose Hill will be hoping to bounce back after relegation, but Marsh Liberal are gathering together a team of young bowlers, including former Yorkshire County juniors Jack Dyson, Adam Beaumont and Scott Smith, who will make this section very competitive this season.

The Huddersfield Junior Inter District C and D teams have a friendly match on Saturday at Almondbury Liberal (6.00).

Former players are invited to attend and, for the first time, girls are now allowed to play in the Junior Inter-District set-up, and are welcome to go along and try out for Huddersfield.