Harrogate CC skipper George Ross expects his side to be challenging at the top end of the ECB Yorkshire Premier League North table once again this season.
The reigning champions begin the defence of their title on Saturday when they travel to Sheriff Hutton Bridge for the opening fixture of 2017.
And although Ross believes that much will depend on how the club’s new recruits settle in to at St George’s Road, he is confident of overseeing another successful campaign.
“It’s difficult to say 100 per cent that we can retain our title, but I definitely think we will be right up there challenging,” he said.
“The side has a bit of a new look to it and you’ve got to take that into account. Three guys have moved on but we’ve brought four in and the core of last season’s group remains.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on the new lads, they need the chance to settle in, but I’m hopeful that they can emulate the success of 2016.”
Harrogate have lost Matthew Good, scorer of more than 900 runs last season, Andy Hawkswell and Kiwi Dion Sampson, who has returned home to New Zealand.
They have however enjoyed a fruitful period of recruitment during the close season.
Australian batsman Kallen Bond has joined up and will take his place in the side at number three, while former Yorkshire 2nds player Eddie Wilson assumes wicket-keeping duties.
Opener Jack Poticary is another new addition, and fellow batsman Josh Atkinson has signed from Otley.
Prolific run-scorer Jonny Tattersall will be available for all Saturday fixtures despite signing a new deal at Yorkshire, but Tykes paceman Ben Coad is unlikely to feature too often in a Harrogate shirt having made a stunning start to life in first class cricket.
“We’re pleased with the lads that we’ve brought in,” Ross continued.
“They’re all of a good pedigree and the team looks to have a good balance to it.
“Jonny will be available every Saturday as Yorkshire 2nds play midweek, but we probably won’t see much of Coady, but absolutely wish him well.”
Looking ahead to the trip to Sheriff Hutton, Ross added: “We beat them both times we played them last year, but they gave us two good games.
“They’re not a side to be taken lightly, but I’m confident that if we play to our maximum then we’ll get the win.”