Millpark Cricket Club have their eyes on the league title.
After last year’s disappointing relegation to Section Three, skipper Paul McCart wants a quick return to the division above.
“We’d hope to be challenging for the title anyway,” he said. “On paper we would be the strongest side but it’s all about availability. If we can get a full side out, we’ll be very tough to beat, especially at home.
“Last year, we beat the Academy, who won promotion and the double. That proves when we can beat anybody with a full side out.
“Our only problem will be availability. We might lose a couple of players, which is a problem of being a smaller club. We lost seven players last season for one reason or another so that was tough.”
This weekend, Millpark first team look to begin their season at home to Ards, weather permitting of course.
“It’s not looking good but these are the problems for us cricketers,” said McCart, ahead of a bleak week of weather according to the forecasts.
On the pitch, the predictions look good for Millpark’s season.
Skipper McCart knows his senior players will have to perform if his team are to take the Section Three title.
“Ben Talbot scored almost 500 runs last year so we would hope he can do just as well or better this season,” the captain said.
“Then we have Davy Glover, who is a very experienced player. He took 40 wickets last season. Those are our two big players. We expect big seasons from them.
“We’re still heavily reliant on McCarts as well. There’s myself and Stuart McCart, my cousin and vice-captain. He’s a good all-rounder who took 30 wickets last year and scored 300 runs.
“We also have his brother Ryan, another star batsman. After that, we need the other guys to chip in around them.”
McCart was also keen to stress the club is always on the search for new blood.
He said: “We had two guys playing for the Seconds last week who haven’t played cricket before. That’s what we’re about, giving people a chance.
“Other clubs have strong youth set-ups but we’re in the position to give new players a chance.
“Anybody that wants to give it a go but feels intimidated is more than welcome.
“Our Seconds Captain James McGarry is an example of a player who only took up the game again in the last few years and is doing very well.”
It’s McCart’s first full season as club captain, a boyhood dream of his. After a testing winter in which the club’s mower was stolen, he’ll be hoping there are better times ahead.