Harrogate CC captain George Ross says there is no pressure on his new-look side to be challenging at the top end of the table this season.
The men from St George’s Road won the ECB Yorkshire Premier League North title in 2016, but despite a positive start to the defence of their crown, ended up finishing fourth last term.
And with two of his most experienced players in Jonny Tattersall and Dave Foster having left the club for pastures new, Ross has been forced into a recruitment drive during the off-season as he looks to re-build.
“We’ve got a few new players and quite a young side, so it would be unfair of me to burden the team with the expectation of saying that we’re looking to win the title this season,” the ‘Gate skipper said.
“We’ve got some fantastic talent within the squad, but we’ll just look to start 2018 well and see how we go from there.
“I’d like to prioritise some success in the cups and definitely aim to win some silverware, but I’m relatively relaxed in terms of my expectations this year.”
Yorkshire CCC opener Tattersall has joined Harrogate’s big rivals York, while Ross’ former vice-captain Foster has moved to Airedale & Wharfedale League outfit Adel.
“It’s obviously not ideal losing two of our best and most experienced cricketers, and them leaving came as a bit of a surprise, but we respect their decisions, wish them all the best and we move on,” Ross added.
“The upside is that we have been able to bring in some exciting players to replace them.
“Will Bates, who has played for Harrogate in the past while he was at university, has come back to the club having relocated due to work.
“He’s got a good pedigree having played Premier League cricket down in the south of England, and will bat at number three. His experience will be a real bonus for us.
“Jack Potticary left the club during the last campaign to join Northants but has also come back and will open the batting. He’s a big-hitter at the top of the order and it’s great that he’s returned.
“Corrie Keable, who can keep wicket and bat in the middle order is another new signing, and strengthens the squad.”
Harrogate begin their season on the road at Clifton Alliance on April 21, but will do so without an overseas player in their number.
Australian all-rounder Kallen Bond has not been replaced for 2018 and the club have no plans to import anyone this time around.
“With the way the rules are now regarding overseas players it’s quite difficult to bring one over,” Ross continued.
“You either need to be paying a professional, which we’re not really in a position to do, or looking for somebody with a dual passport. There aren’t too many of these guys and obviously they get cherry-picked pretty quickly.
“To be honest, it will actually be good for us to have an all British side anyway, because overseas players can’t feature in the cup competitions.
“We want to challenge in all of the cups this season and the aim is to win one. Being able to field a more settled side in Sunday fixtures where you’re not having to drop your overseas and fit a replacement into the team will certainly give us a better chance.”
ECB Yorkshire Premier League North fixtures 2018.
April 21: Clifton Alliance (a)
April 28: Stamford Bridge (a)
May 5: Yorkshire Academy (h)
May 7: Scarborough (h)
May 12: York (h)
May 19: Woodhouse Grange (a)
May 26: Castleford (h)
June 2: Sheriff Hutton Bridge (h)
June 9: Scarborough (a)
June 16: Sessay (a)
June 23: Driffield (h)
June 30: Stamford Bridge (h)
July 7: York (a)
July 14: Yorks. Academy (a)
July 21: W’house Grange (h)
July 28: Clifton Alliance (h)
August 4: Acomb (a)
August 11: Sheriff Hutton Bridge (a)
August 18: Sessay (h)
August 25: Driffield (a)
September 1: Castleford (a)
September 8: Acomb (h)