ICS Accounting WCL - Pre-season Preview

By Tim Mansfield

Who will win the League in 2024? (If it ever dries out)

Local cricketers have been warming up in sports halls and groundsmen have been cutting the grass in the rare breaks in the weather.  The 2024 season should be starting next week, although some grounds may not be fit.

This season, Kirkby Stephen and Lindal Moor play in the ICS Accounting WCL for the first time, Appleby Eden return for the first time since the 1960s, and Penrith and Settle bring their second teams. It makes it difficult to predict who will be the leading sides. Lindal arrive with pedigree and have kept most of their side which played last year in the Cumbria League Premier Division so captain Ed Waind will be expecting to be in contention and Waind, Callum McDougall, Paul Wilcock and Ryan Gilmour are batsmen to watch with Waind also expected to feature in the bowling.  Burneside will miss Ethan Elwood, but have added former Netherfield bowler Stu Dixon, Sam Fletcher joins from Kendal and overseas amateur Jack Munnings has arrived from Australia. 

Shireshead have lost Ernie Collinson to Garstang and Dave Jack to Great Eccleston but have recruited 23-year-old South African Euan Boyle who together with Stan Collinson is expected to make his mark. Sedgwick have signed Ollie Killiner from Kendal and Aaron Lomas is back to strengthen the batting and it is expected that the attack of Ollie Sanday, Jonny Matthews, Richard Hanson, Tom Ridley, and Dan Lawson will be as good as any in the Division. Morgan Fothergill captains Appleby Eden who have strengthened the side who finished 4th last year in the Eden Valley League with Barbadian Ethan Welch, Adam McFadyean from Kirkby Stephen and leg-spinning all-rounder Andrew Ormrod from Rockcliffe. Josh Bellas is a name to look out for.

Warton will be strengthened with the return from injury of Shaun Partridge and Ryan Needham, whilst Bare start a new chapter with Robbie White taking charge of the team.  Arnside hope to finish in the top 5 with last year’s league top batsman Adam Richardson remaining as captain and boosted by the return of James Whincup, Adam expects Lee Illingworth and Alex Davidson to play regularly. Holme have signed Australian Jonah Avery, Brendan Herron is fit and Ben Woodruff and Tom Barnes will strengthen the squad.
Kirkby Stephen have lost some players, but Oliver Rose and Ben Allison are all-rounders to look out for, and new captain Charles Bowman is a good bat averaging nearly 30 with two hundreds in the Eden Valley Premier Division. Silverdale return to Division 1 with James Greenall and Jack Hargreaves back in the fold. 17 year olds Harry Mason and Alfie Moffat have bags of talent and will learn from the experience of cousins Jon and Phil Mason, although injury deprives them of Steve Beck and Ali James at the start of the season.

Of the second teams in the first division, Carnforth expects big things of Lewis Spurr, Louis Potter, Zack Dodds and Myles Bowen, although Adam Hornby will miss his vice-captain Graeme Dodds who has retired.  They will be strengthened if all the first team is available and there has been a whisper that Darren Nelson may play mainly second team. Kendal will rely on Terry Hunte, Andy Dugdale and Paul Dodds and will be hoping to benefit from two or three fringe first team players being able to play in the seconds. Morecambe 2nds have recruited South African Rudian Oosthuizen and expect Benji Orr to play a big part alongside captain James Lambert.

Division 2 is going to be fascinating.  Shireshead 2nds captained by Mike Mead and with the experience of Paul Yates and Simon Gould to call upon alongside talented youngsters should be in contention.  Coniston have signed Jamie Scattergood from Cheadle Hulme CC and Mohammed Ashique Kaithara and Thamjid Noufal Nalakath from Milnthorpe and are expected to be strong contenders if they can sort out their form on the road. Andy Cormack remains at Milnthorpe’s helm and will be hoping that Matthew Studt maintains the impressive form he showed last year. Luke Gorst led his young Ingleton side to an immediate return to Division 2. Gorst is a wily bowler not to be underestimated and Matthew France is an explosive all-rounder capable of winning games with bat or ball. Ingleton will look forward to local derbies against Settle 2nds and Kirkby Lonsdale.

Trimpell will rely on runs from Mark Baldwin and Paul Thompson, and the all-round skills of captain Danny Halstead whilst Ambleside with a settled team will compete every week and have the division’s best bowler in Barny Wileman supported by Jimmy Greenwood and Adam Wood, while Ben McGregor and Nick McDonald returning from New Zealand will vie with Paul Johnson for the batting spoils, but Adam Whitehead and Harvey Upton have moved out of the area. Left arm wrist spinner Andrew Metcalfe takes charge at Kirkby Lonsdale who are expected to miss James Royce and Harvey Williams.  Cartmel rely on Bob Davies, John Burton, captain Joe Cowperthwaite and Joe Atkinson. They hope to see more of Jono Cooper and have signed Rob Rhys.

The performance of the second teams is again difficult to predict but Penrith led by Martyn Crouch are expected to be strong with New Zealander, Sam Anderson tipped for big runs, George Willacy will play for Sedgwick and Mark Ward will win games for Burneside under new captain Siraaz Patel. Elliott Marklew captains Settle who have joined from the North-west Cricket League. James Hesketh is the new Heysham skipper while David Hughes takes over at Westgate.  Steve Wilson remains skipper at Netherfield while at Morecambe Joe Jackson will lead the third team.

2024 is the centenary of the reformation of the Westmorland League after World War 1.  The 1914 Champions, Windermere wasn’t able to re-enter the competition so the League restarted with 8 clubs, many of whom are still big names in local cricket.  The roster was Burneside, Gatebeck, Holme, Kendal 2nds, Kirkby Lonsdale, Milnthorpe, Netherfield and Sedbergh.  It was the first time that Kirkby Lonsdale had played league cricket.  The ancient club’s focus pre-war had been on country house cricket and their ground at Underley Park was much loved.  But it was ploughed up for the war effort and 1924 saw the Kirkby Lonsdale club move to its current ground at Lunefield Park, which this season therefore has its centenary.

100 years ago Burneside won the League, with Holme in second place although there was some controversy over the decision of the League Management Committee to remove a point from Sedbergh which would have given them joint second place.  George Hall (Holme) won the batting averages with 288 runs at 26.18 and Jack Barnes (Burneside) was the top bowler with 26 wickets at 2.65.  Gatebeck won the wooden spoon.

Members of the League Management Committee and existing Life members held a dinner last week to recognise Derrick Hackney being awarded Life Membership of the League (see photo) which he has been involved for almost sixty years as player, umpire and sponsor.  He played against Appleby Eden the last time they were in the league.

Where next?

League statement: Kirkby Stephen Kirkby Stephen withdraw first team from Division 1
Westmorland Cricket League secures three-year sponsorship deal with ICS Accounting The Westmorland Cricket League is delighted to announce that it has secured a deal with local accountancy firm ICS Accounting for them to become our main sponsor for the next three years ahead of an exciting 2024 season.

Westmorland Cricket League newsletter

Keep up-to-date with our exclusive email newsletters.