Fun factor is the ambition for NSSCL newcomers Wistaston Village

There will be hundreds of local cricketers eager to start their seasons this weekend - and none more so than at Wistaston Village.

The bad weather saw the NSSCL executive push the season back from a mid-April start to tomorrow.

And Wistaston’s players will have been counting down the days to their North Staffs and South Cheshire League debut.

The club have moved their second team from the Cheshire set-up to their new home, with a trip to Checkley thirds the first assignment of the summer.

Captain Andy Whitehurst is well versed in life in the league, having previously been at Betley, and he’s relishing the new challenge awaiting his side.

“We’ve moved the seconds into the North Staffs and South Cheshire League and there’s a massive possibility that the first could follow in the future,” said Whitehurst. “The seconds played in Cheshire C West.

“It was split into East and West because before that we were travelling all over from the Wirral to Buxton.

“We’re just a bunch of lads who enjoy the game. We’ve played against sides who are really into it and it’s not entertaining when you’re bowled out for 50 chasing 270.”

Whitehurst says his previous experience of life in the NSSCL played a part in the club’s decision to switch.

“We thought about it last year, but there were some grumblings, but this year it’s been a unanimous decision,” explained Whitehurst.

“I played at Betley under Richard Bebbington for a while and then I left - three or four of the lads came with me.

“I just like how the league is run. We’re a small village club and with Nantwich, Crewe and Sandbach in close proximity, it can be difficult to attract players.

“With the move, it might get people knowing who we are and what we are all about.”

There will be a mix of youth and experience in the Wistaston ranks as they take in their Division Eight commitments.

But rather than having a big plan to climb through the divisions, Whitehurst just wants to see players enjoying the game.

“Last year we had a big problem with the juniors in terms of them not wanting to play on a Saturday,” said Whitehurst.

“So we have someone in who is tasked with helping with the transition from junior cricket to the seconds.

“We should have three or four under-15s in there. Then we have myself at 43, my opening batsman is 50 and our opening bowler is middle 50s. Winning a few games would be brilliant, but it’s all about enjoyment for me.

“The first team is different - they are fitter and more athletic. But for us, it’s the love of the game.”

Wistaston might be a village, but they are more than playing their part in cricket development.

They run junior sides from under-nines to under-15s, have a link with Keele University and also have women’s sides.

“We’re trying our best as a club and on a Friday night we can have 50 kids running around and we do the All-Stars programme as well,” explained Whitehurst.

“I can’t wait for Saturday and see how we get on. I will be reporting back about how it is going, but I’m sure it’s going to be positive.

“I’ve not seen much of the lower leagues, but we’re in Division Eight and we will see how we fare.”

Whitehurst also runs the bar at Wistaston. If there’s enjoyment, junior development and a few victories over the summer for his side, you can be sure he’ll be raising a glass.

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