THE start of the new Greater Manchester Cricket League is finally upon us, with the new season set to get underway on Saturday.

Bury Cricket Club will be one of 13 local clubs hoping to make an impact in the debut campaign after making some important signings on and off the pitch.

Captain Karl Belston says the addition of exciting new players, as well as re-signing one of the club’s major sponsors, building contractor Cube Construct, has given Bury just the boost it needs.

“It is going to be an exciting year,” he said, ahead of the season start, which was due to be at home to las year’s Bolton League champions Egerton, but was unfortunately postponed today due to the weather.

“We have Cube Construct on-board again, our shirt sponsors, who continue to support all the teams throughout the club.

“We have also got a really good core of young amateurs, as well as some very experienced cricketers joining us. We have had some players move on, so we’ve had to do a bit of recruiting this year.

“One of our biggest signings is Mohammed Jamal, whose exciting stroke play saw him move from Read to Chorley, will now test his ever-growing reputation in the GMCL with Bury.

“We are also looking forward to seeing what our amateurs can do, the likes of Sam Massey and Alex Breckin, who have come through the ranks.”

Karl admits it is a big year for himself, too, who is stepping up to captain the club, taking over from his brother, Simon, who has emigrated to Australia.

“Losing Simon, our captain for the majority of the last eight years, has been a really big blow for us, he was one of the top amateurs about and his performances mirrored the professionals.

“We are also in a new league with the big guns, so the cricket could be a lot tougher. We will be up against plenty of local rivals, including Prestwich, Greenmount and Unsworth, so there’s a lot to look forward to.”

Pete Laithwaite, CEO of Cube Construct, said he is delighted to be sponsoring the club again: “It is a big season for the club, with a new captain, a new league, and some stiff competition.

"It’s a great time for Cube Construct to be involved with the club. We are right behind the lads, and wish them all the best during the upcoming season.”

Fears the season would have to be put back a week due to unfit pitches have eased, but as well as Bury falling foul of the weather, it is understood matches involving Prestwich and Stand are also a doubt.

Selected first-team fixtures Premier Division: Bury v Egerton, Denton St Lawrence v Greenmount, Prestwich v Flixton, Unsworth v Denton West.

Division One: Roe Green v Elton, Woodbank v Walshaw.

Division Two: Radcliffe v Droylsden, Stretford v Stand, Westleigh v Edenfield.

Division Four West: Elton 2s v Tottington St Johns, Walshaw 2s v ELPM, Winton v Elton Vale.