Everards County League: Egerton Park and Melton Mowbray

Zaheer Hussain returns from Oz for a second season at Egerton Park EMN-160419-181830002
Zaheer Hussain returns from Oz for a second season at Egerton Park EMN-160419-181830002
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Contrasting fortunes between the town’s two County League clubs sees both Egerton Park and Melton Mowbray begin life in new divisions this season.

The pair shared the bragging rights in their two Division Three meetings last season, but their campaigns were wildly different.

Park overcame a slow start to win a thrilling race for promotion thanks to an irresistible late charge under skipper Nick Watchorn.

Buoyed by the all-round contribution of Australian import Zaheer Hussain, who returns for another summer in Melton, Park won five matches out of their last eight.

This unbeaten run at the tail-end of last summer helped snatch the second promotion spot by a handful of points from Newbold Verdon.

Their return to Division Two begins with a trip to Countesthorpe (1pm start).

On the flip side of 2015, Melton set off like a train in Division Three and hinted at another promotion campaign.

They won five of their first seven matches, including a crushing home win against Park before inconsistency set in mid-season.

And one victory from their last eight matches saw a dramatic slide down the table to finish third-bottom.

They will look to bounce back from Division Four East at the first attempt, starting at home to Thorpe Arnold Seconds on Saturday (1pm).

* Park Second XI, meanwhile, will spend their summer in Division Seven East after a difficult campaign last year.

They open their season at home to Bharat Sports Second XI on Saturday (1pm).