With the new season now that far away, it’s time to cast our eye towards what lies ahead in the coming months on the field, beginning with Saturday league cricket.
A new era of Saturday league cricket beckons for Willoughby in 2019 as we take our first steps into the Northamptonshire County League (NCL).
The move to the NCL comes after 18 years in the South Northants Cricket League and provides a new challenge for both our Saturday XIs, with new clubs, grounds and players to meet.
Our 2019 season gets underway in mid-April with the now-customary series of club friendlies to get us in tune for the league season ahead. First up on Saturday 13th April will see the visit of our friends from Southam who return to be our traditional season opener; ironically they too are embarking on a new season of discovery so to speak having transferred both their Saturdays XIs to the Cotswold Hills League.
A day later – Sunday 14th April - Oakfield & Rowlands are the visitors to The Green (see separate article on Sunday cricket), before there is one game over the Easter weekend that follows on Saturday 20th April with our neighbours Braunston Paddox making the short visit down the A45 for the now-regular pre-season encounter with us.
No game on Easter Sunday (21st April) for obvious reasons, before one game the following weekend – on Sunday 28th April. Why? In previous years, this weekend would normally see us start our league seasons.
However, whilst the NCL kicks off on Saturday 27th April, both Saturday XIs have a free week this Saturday and with most other clubs starting their respective league seasons this particular Saturday, we have this day to ourselves. It does however give us another opportunity to get everyone together for some outdoor training, whilst for those that perhaps need a bit of game time, there is a game that weekend as Monks Kirby are the visitors on Sunday 28th April.
So our Saturday league programme starts on Saturday 4th May, or for one of our teams anyway.
Saturday 1st XI
Our Saturday 1sts have been slotted into Division 6 of the NCL and begin life there on Saturday 11th May with the visit of Thrapston IIs, ahead of our first away game a week later which will see us travel to Rothwell Town II.
Podington IIs are our next visitors over the Whitsun bank holiday weekend on Saturday 25th May, before we travel to Loddington IIs seven days later.
Two further free weeks – on Saturday 10th August and Saturday 14th September – means our season is extended to finish on Saturday 21st September with a visit to probably our shortest league trip of the season across at East Haddon II.
The free week the week before on 14th September does conveniently allow us to continue the tradition of a friendly with our long standing friends at Stoneleigh.
The full list of teams we will face on a home and away basis are:
- East Haddon II
- Isham II
- Loddington II
- Obelisk Kingsthorpe
- Podington II
- Rothwell II
- S and L Corby II
- Thrapston II
View the full 2019 Saturday 1st XI fixture list on the attached.
Now head to see what our Saturday 2nds will be up to - click here