REDDITCH Entaco return to Birmingham League action after a 12-year absence when they welcome Pelsall to Bromsgrove Road on Saturday.
The newly-named Dick Biddle Memorial Ground is looking in good shape ahead of the Division Three opener in which the hosts will be skippered by paceman Waqas Ali in the absence of captain Russell Southwick who is away on work commitments.
Redditch, promoted as Worcestershire League Division One champions, include two new recruits – overseas player Tim Fitch from Australia who will keep wicket and pace bowler Steve du Cros who has moved to the club from Olton & West Warwickshire. Dan Protherough comes in for Southwick but all-rounder Ghulam Moyhuddin misses out due to holiday.
Last weekend the 1st XI took on Astwood Bank in a hastily-arranged friendly and an entertaining day’s cricket ended with the Bank winning by four wickets.
The Kingfishers started well through openers Olly Mason (34) and Tom Field (26) but the Bank bounced back as pace bowler Jake Price took 4-30 to help dismiss Redditch for 188.
In reply Astwood Bank lost two early wickets but an excellent 84 off just 60 balls from Tom Underhill swung the game in favour of the home side.
Underhill struck five boundaries and five maximums and received valuable support from Pete Alexander (17) and Tom Shepherd (13) as the hosts sealed victory with 16 overs to spare.
Bank begin their Division Two campaign at home to Harborne on Saturday.
The Redditch 1st XI are also in action on Sunday (1pm) when they host a Royal London National Knockout fixture against Staffordshire side Stone SP.
Redditch Entaco 2nds, again captained by Asif Mukhtar, open their season at Kidderminster, and the 3rds, with Liam Phelan as skipper, visit Barnt Green for a Worcestershire League Division Five fixture.