When each new Bassetlaw & District League season begins, one can usually pick out who is going to be at both ends of the table when September arrives.
But this year looks more evenly spread than it has done for quite some time.
Having said that, Mansfield Hosiery Mills who were relegated from the Nottinghamshire Premier League, Papplewick & Linby, and if you are looking for a ‘Dark Horse’ Retford, might just be leaders of the pack when the honours are dished out.
Don’t take that for granted, though. It is really open season and someone might well gatecrash the party.
As usual there has been several moves between the respective clubs and a very interesting campaign looks be on the cards.
Anston who had a tremendous season in 2013 finishing runners-up, were slightly disappointing last season when they finished mid-table.
Once again brilliant Sri-Lankan Amila Perera had an astonishing season, scoring 672 runs at 51.69 and also took 58 wickets at 13.31 and was the mainstay of the side.
They have a thriving youth policy that has served them well and they have recruited Matt King, a wicket-keeper/batsman from Doncaster Town, who started his career here. Callum Smith is the new captain and they are hopeful of a good season.
Clipstone Welfare only had Farnsfield finish above them in the Championship last season and still look pretty strong, although their efforts to sign an overseas player hasn’t been finalised yet.
Ian Woodall again skippers what looks to be a strong side. Brad Wright will be available all season this time after spending half of last term at university and he will be a good asset to them.
Lee Wilson and Josh Flowers were their chief run-getters in 2014 and Ian Woodall and Jason Gorman took almost 100 wickets between them. Another good season seems likely.
Promoted Edwinstowe have strengthened their side with the signing of Chris Tindle and Adam Dutton both from Firbeck.
Tindle took 37 wickets at 14.22 and Dutton scored an amazing 919 runs at an astonishing 70.69, so both of them look to be good captures.
Add to this the hugely talented James Dobson, who scored 1054 runs at 58.56, and there does look to be plenty of runs in the side.
Andrew Edwards again captains the side, who look capable of establishing themselves in the top division.
In the last few days Edwinstowe have also signed Craig Brittlebank from Clipstone, which will add further to their batting options.
Glapwell, who found themselves too close to the bottom for comfort last season, are hoping for better things in this campaign.
They are again captained by Matt Page, who always does a good job with both bat and ball.
They have strengthened their side with the signing of Chris Webber, a left arm slow bowler and middle order batsman from Perth, Western Australia, and pace bowler Daniel Weaver from Mansfield.
Stephen Gooding and John Skinner are always capable of scoring runs while Luke Smith and Danny Bircumshaw should both contribute with both bat and ball.
A team who did extremely well to avoid relegation last term was Kiveton Park Colliery.
They lost several players and sadly that trend has continued this time with Adam Whiteley leaving for Aston Hall and Richard Spurr moving to Whiston.
Chris Storey is captain once again and they have recruited Ari Karvelas, a quick bowler and middle order batsman from South Africa who played with success in the Hampshire Premier League last season.
It would seem they are looking at another season of struggle this season and a lot will depend on the overseas player.
Relegated from the Nottinghamshire Premier League last season were Mansfield Hosiery Mills, but had they not incurred a 50 points deduction at the start of the season it is extremely doubtful if this would have happened.
Therefore one can see them not being far away from regaining their place this term.
Tom New, the former Leicestershire wicket/keeper batsman, captains the side and they have signed James Mann, a useful middle-order batsman who has played with Kimberley, and Adam Dobb is back full time with them and is a very talented off spinner.
Add Matt New and several other good quality players and this side won’t be far away when the honours are dished out.
A side who always battle hard and on their day are a match for anyone are North Wheatley with Leverton.
Unfortunately for them they have lost their opening bowler Jamie Sizer, who has emigrated to Australia.
But they have signed Eddie Tofts, a left arm quick bowler who has been trading his wares with Retford.
They have also signed Peter John Jansen, a South African who had a great season for them in 2011 scoring 696 runs at 40.94.
Jonathan Loates continues as captain and with Matt Loates, Richard Robinson and the Tong Brothers also available they should enjoy a good season.
Scott Leivers is the new skipper at Notts & Arnold Amateur and, contrary to some rumours, Dilhan Cooray, who is arguably the best batsman in the league, will be playing for the Nottingham side again this season.
This side are a perfect example of bringing their own players through and Sam Ecob, Jordan Finney and several more have made their mark in senior cricket from their youth ranks and will still be available this season.
Unfortunately Liam Patterson-White will not as he is part of the Nottinghamshire Academy side, but one cannot blame him for that. Four more young prized assets are thought to be likely to break through soon and the potential there is enormous.
Jim Rhodes continues as captain at Papplewick & Linby and they must be fancied for a return to the Premier League this season.
They have recruited Justin Brathwaite, the West Indian blaster who scored 711 runs at 47.40 with Clipstone last year, and he should launch their innings away at breakneck speed.
Other newcomers to their impressive line-up are Shaharyar Aslam, who played last season for Unity Casuals, and Jayaneththi Rangana Pathum, who is now residing in Nottingham after playing in the Middlesex Premier League last season.
Ross Fitz-John, Alex Lloyd and Richard Hodgkinson are all there again and provide the backbone of a very strong squad.
The busiest side this winter has been promoted Retford, and if everything works out, they might well be a real surprise packet.
Stuart Graves, their wicket-keeper, is the new captain and in addition to him they have signed Wayne Spooner (Worksop), Amit Kundra (Elsecar), Jonathan Redfern (Doncaster Town) and Greg Mann (Rossington).
Add to them Chandra Kumara, the excellent Sri-Lankan all rounder is back again, and you are looking potentially at a rather good side.
Of course Eddie Tofts has defected to North Wheatley, but overall Retford are beginning to look like the good side we know they have been for many years.
Ben Marson is the captain once again at Thoresby Colliery and will be looking to improve upon their impressive fourth place in last year’s table.
They have added to their already useful squad Armand Wolmarams, a South African middle order batsman and slow bowler who played in Cheshire last season with great success, and Robert Shead, a good left hander from Kirkby Portland.
Aqib Farook has departed, but the basis of the team are once again in place and another good season looks to be on the cards.
At Worksop Conor Smith once again captains the side.
They can once again count on the brilliant young South African all-rounder Bernhard Beukman, who scored 775 runs at 45.59 and took 25 wickets at 18.56 last season.
A real bonus is that after a four-year break, Steve Bentley has returned to the fold. He was one of the best all-rounders in the league until a premature retirement which has now ended.
They have lost Wayne Spooner to Retford and wicket-keeper Jack Atherton to Welbeck but have some promising young talent emerging. They are rather inconsistent and one doesn’t see much change in that this season.