For Marple, this season the pressure is on. The Cheshire club from the outskirts of Stockport won a total of ten trophies in 2010, with their first, second and third XIs all winning their divisions and the over 40s side crowned Cheshire champions. A new electronic scoreboard, sightscreens, spectator seating and renovation of the pavilion helped the Bowden Lane outfit win the Cheshire League’s most improved club award too.
In 2011, success has already begun to breed success, with players leaving nearby clubs to join Marple and the marquee signings of Cheshire county captain Andrew Hall and Queensland under-23 batsman Dominic Michael. A busy and growing junior section means that the players and committee are confident that, even with every team playing a division higher than last year, they can use this season to consolidate their reputation as the Cheshire league’s most successful outfit. “The club has been buzzing,” says committee member Ron Harrop. “And we raised all the money for the improvements ourselves. It’s a super place to play cricket now, it really is.”