Preview of the 2022 North Wales Cricket League Premier Division season – all 12 teams featured

The addition of all-rounder Dan Evans will only strengthen champions St Asaph

Can St Asaph retain the Premier Division title they so thrillingly lifted last year or will a different name finish top of the table?

The 2022 North Wales Cricket League Premier Division season gets underway tomorrow.

Dave Jones of Grassroots North Wales takes a look at the 12 teams which make up the top flight.

PREMIER DIVISION ROLL-CALL 2022

Bangor 1st XI

Young Australian prospect Saami Welsh will be aiming to make his mark with the 2017 and 2019 champions Bangor this season.

The left-arm spinner, just 18, plays for Perth in Western Australia and is also a capable batsman.

Otherwise, Bangor have the same squad as 2021.

Matty Haswell remains first team captain, while Sohaib Khan leads the seconds. There are joint captains of the third team where youngsters Tomos Davies and Cian Williams are sharing the role.

Elsewhere, expect the likes of veteran spinner Gareth Edwards, who has been selected for the Wales Over-60’s squad, and all-rounder David Winter, a specialist and prolific batsman in recent years, to stand out.

Brymbo 1st XI

Brymbo newcomer Seth Agard

The Steelmen will enjoy a touch of the Caribbean at the club this season as West Indian all-rounder Seth Agard joins the fold.

Agard hails from Barbados, whom he has represented at under-19 level, and carries a reputation as a very useful higher-order batsman.

He bats right-handed and bowls leg-spin. The young prospect once toured England with the West Indies Under-15 Invitational XI.

University commitments means he will not be available for Brymbo until the second match of the campaign.

Quite a few changes at Brymbo this season with two new management teams for both the firsts and seconds.

The first team will be led by Dan Parry and his vice will be Connor Davies.

George Bourne skippers the seconds with Ross Roberts his deputy.

Gresford 1st XI

Gresford had a steady 2021, finishing eighth in the Premier with some very good results achieved at times over the season.

Two new captains have been appointed – Matt Thompson for for 1st XI and George Morris for the seconds.

There are no new signings or departures to report, so the Wrexham area side will rely on the likes of Chris Ellwood, Daniel Williams and the skipper Thompson to be their usual reliable selves.

Llandudno 1st XI

For the past few seasons there has been a greater emphasis on developing young talent at The Oval.

Between 2004-16, Tudno ruled the Premier Division roost with nine title wins in 13 years, as well as lifting the Welsh Cup in 2006.

In recent years they have been more a mid-table side, very capable but lacking consistency.

This season they have suffered the blow of losing master all-rounder Dan Evans to champions St Asaph.

However, they still have the likes of the Rimmington brothers – Sam, who scored 765 league runs last season and Wales international and bowling all-rounder Jack – in the ranks.

South African youngster Kai Paige is one to keep a keen eye on as the club’s new overseas player.
He is a higher-order batter and bowls medium pace.

Llay Welfare 1st XI

After finishing third bottom last season, Llay Welfare will be looking for improvement this time around.

New first team skipper Tom Crewe has some quality players at his disposal, not least Joe Howell, top run-getter for the Premier side last season, while bowler Jack Aplin has great potential and the evergreen Dave Phennah remains a true asset.

Menai Bridge 1st XI

The brilliant Jack Gower in action. Picture: ANDRE PEPPER ap_photoserv
@APhotoserv

The Premier’s most consistent team of recent years will again be one of the chief forces.

Menai have Chris Moore back with them from Pwllheli, while outstanding batsman Arwel Thomas returns after a couple of years out.

Pace bowler Patrick Glover departs. Other than that there are no changes, with first and second team captains remaining the same.

Look no further than Jack Gower, top run compiler for the Premier with almost 900 in the league last season and close on 1,000 in all competitions, to be a major player.

Sam Bixby, Robbie Jones, Dion Holden and Gethin Roberts are all dynamic with the bat, while Holden, Gerallt Roberts and Mathew Jones can take floods of wickets.

The 2014, 2015 and 2018 champions should be right up there in title contention again.

Mochdre 1st XI

Captains for 2022: 1st XI Matty Humphreys, 2nd XI Dan Miller and 3rd XI Owen Davies.

Same as last season apart from a change in leadership of the thirds.

Mochdre have lost opening bowler and former skipper Gareth Goodson to St Asaph, while Sean Reilly has switched to Abergele.

Fifth in the Premier last season, the Swan Road side would probably be satisfied with the same outcome, although everyone looks to better themselves.

Mold 1st XI

Welcome back to the Premier for Mold after an eight-year absence.

Players to watch in 2022 will include the league’s leading run-scorer in 2021, Ewan Hill, and immensely talented batsman Isaac Allen.

Gareth Davies, Richard Crane, Richard Deniz and John Crane will be bowlers worth keeping an eye on.

An interesting addition is Jakeem Forde, a Barbadian batting all-rounder.

Northop 1st XI

An impressive fourth last season, Northop will be looking to build on a highly encouraging 2021.

The club not only has much experienced talent, but also plenty of quality in the youth stakes, having won the Under-15 Flintshire Knockout last year.

Northop already have a couple of useful friendlies under their belts, with skipper Richard Walker having hit a pre-season ton.

In the bowling, the likes of Andrew Oates and Matthew Williams will be key figures.

Pontblyddyn 1st XI

Last season’s Division One champions will be all out to make a big impact on their return to the Premier.

West Indian Stevel Rodney, a 21-year-old all-rounder from the Leeward Islands, could be a pivotal figure in 2022.

Rodney has represented the Leewards at under-17 and under-19 level, and in 2019 played in the Cheshire League for Bredbury St Marks CC, where he was leading run-scorer and wicket-taker.

Rhys Jones remains first team captain and Ben Mason is back at Alder Meadow after playing for St Asaph in their title-winning season.

Pont are home to Pwllheli in their first game and the team will be: Rhys Jones (c), James Griffiths (WK), Ali Roberts, Mike Littler, Mike Williamson, Jon Byrd, Chris Moss, Cayo Jones, Ryan Dunning, Stevel Rodney, Ben Mason.

Pwllheli 1st XI

Morgan Murray-Williams has moved on from Pwllheli

Like Northop, Pwllheli had a great season last time out, finishing sixth in the standings and avoiding the brushes with relegation which had been a regular occurrence in their recent past.

There is a change in captaincy with exciting all-rounder Jason Underwood now in charge.

Former skipper Morgan Murray-Williams, who amassed more than 5,000 runs and took in excess of 250 club wickets, has moved to Derby and now plays for Bagnall Norton CC in the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League.

South African Underwood, who is about to begin his fifth season as a Pwllheli player, has notched more than 2,500 league runs and taken 74 wickets in all competitions.

While a number of players, including ex-captain Murray-Williams, have left Parc Bodegroes, last season’s top run-hitter Chris Taylor remains with the club.

St Asaph 1st XI

Just like all good championship-winning sides, St Asaph have not let the grass grow under their feet.

Rather than be content with the same successful squad they had last season, Saints have added to it, signing gifted all-rounder Dan Evans from Llandudno and ex-Mochdre and Colwyn Bay opening bowler Gareth Goodson.

Will Ryan remains first team captain after leading Asaph to their first Premier Division title in 2021.

Other new players are Jack Griffiths (ex-Denbigh) and Jack Hall (ex-Gala CC Scotland) while Ben Mason has returned to Pontblyddyn.

OPENING FIXTURES

SATURDAY, APRIL 23 (all 12 noon starts)

Bangor 1st XI v Northop 1st XI
Llay Welfare 1st XI v Mold 1st XI
Menai Bridge 1st XI v Llandudno 1st XI
Mochdre 1st XI v Gresford 1st XI
Pontblyddyn 1st XI v Pwllheli 1st XI
St Asaph 1st XI v Brymbo 1st XI

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