Donaghcloney will be back in familiar territory in the upcoming 2015 season, having bounced back to the Ulster Bank Section One at the first time of asking in 2014 after relegation the previous season.
Last year’s successful skipper Keith Martin has stepped down to take over the running of the second eleven and Philip Derby has taken over what should be a fairly settled first team, with no major comings or goings in the off season.
Overseas player Mansing Nigade returns once again and the Villagers will be looking for much more support from other players with the bat.
With the ball, left arm slow bowler Stevie Hanna will again be a key factor in keeping the score down, while quickie Stephen Leckey, who was with Lurgan in 2013, should be able to blow through some of the league’s top orders.
Derby though is keen that despite having the majority of last season’s team available, he’s hoping that the younger players are able to step up, provide a good level of competition and that by the middle of the season a few will have cemented themselves a place in the First XI.
In Cloney’s second XI, Keith Martin will be bringing plenty of experience of firsts cricket to his leadership.
He will be ably assisted by William Fisher, who with many seasons at this level under his belt will know exactly what to expect this season.
The biggest boost in their return to Junior Two sees the return of Bruce Topping after a spell as player/coach at Lurgan.
While these three provide the experience, the rest of the team will be much younger, with the investment shown by the club showing dividends.
The Third XI also sees a change at the top, with Jimmy Warren taking over from Raymond Matthews, who stepped down to vice captain and to look after the midweek team.
The Thirds’ aim this season will be promotion after a number of years of near misses and the club believes there should be enough young players coming through to complement these veterans and make the targets much more of a reality.