Everards County League: Premier ambitions for Syston and Barkby

Barkby United, from left, back  Aiden Morris, Ryan Waplington, James Kirk, Jack Berrisford, Rob Townsend, Ian Kirk; front  Tom Flowers, Lloyd Phillips, Steve Flowers, Martin Troop, Matt Boyce. EMN-160414-101451002
Barkby United, from left, back  Aiden Morris, Ryan Waplington, James Kirk, Jack Berrisford, Rob Townsend, Ian Kirk; front  Tom Flowers, Lloyd Phillips, Steve Flowers, Martin Troop, Matt Boyce. EMN-160414-101451002
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There will be a change in the helm at Potters Lane as Syston Town begin their 16th consecutive season in the County League’s top flight.

Last year’s captain and vice-captain will switch roles for the Premier Division side as Umar Razzaq takes over as skipper from Charlie Taylor who will be his second in command.

Iain Fraser remains manager of a first team which has held onto all of its players from last season and has recruited several new faces for the 2016 campaign.

Opening batsman Amer Nazir and all-rounder Callum Smeaton, students at De Montfort University, will add strength in depth to the squad, while wicketkeeper Jamie Chand and bowler Jack Blackwell have joined from Billesdon to augment a youthful line-up.

They will hope to build on last year’s solid mid-table finish of seventh, but face a tricky opening test at last year’s runners-up Lutterworth (12.30pm).

They are joined in the Premier by newly-promoted Barkby United who clinched the second promotion spot in Division One last year.

Barkby will be looking to establish themselves on the top flight this season and improve on their most recent taste of the Premier in 2010 when they survived just one season. They also have a tough opener at perennial powerhouses Loughborough Town.

* Kahil Man-Kler will again lead Syston Second XI’s campaign in a very competitive Division Three, supported by a new vice-captain in Chris Weir, while Ivan Spibey remains in charge of the Third XI.

The Seconds last year overcame a difficult start to finish in a comfortable mid-table position. They host last year’s Division Four West champions Long Whatton on Saturday (1pm start).

The club’s ground development plans will also continue in 2016 thanks to last year’s investment through their major sponsors Mitchell Storage and Distribution.