Following promotion it’s a new era for Academy Cricket Club, but there are no major changes in personnel.
Last year’s skipper, Mathew Palmer, will lead his side again when they step out for their first fixture in Section 1, but they have recruited a New Zealand coach, Mitchell Dickeson.
He will link up with fellow countrymen Andre Halbert and Mitchell Atkins who scoring a combined total of around 1,500 runs in the last campaign.
Their runs contributed to a promotion and Junior Cup double, but after having broken all records in this competition, the Hydepark lads have now moved on to the Senior Cup, in which they travel to Derriaghy in the first round.
With two of the three junior teams gaining promotion last season, Academy embark on the new campaign at the higher level with confidence, boosted by the knowledge that there is a crop of keen young cricketers coming forward on the club conveyor belt.
Preparations for the new season started at the weekend with a friendly against Laurelvale, which was won convincingly by six wickets.
Chris Halliday, Stephen Fawcett and Andre Halbert were the most successful bowlers as the locals were skittled out for 93, while Andrew Magee top-scored with 26 in Academy’s reply of 94 for 4.
On Saturday North West side St Johnstone will be the visitors for a friendly being staged at Roughfort, in preparation for the opening league fixture at home to Cliftonville on April 25.