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Cricket: David Powell in to lead Connah’s Quay title defence

CONNAH’S Quay will defend their Premier Division crown under new leadership when the 2012 campaign gets under way on Saturday.

Title-winning skipper Sean Steynberg-Wright has returned to South Africa and passed on the reins to David Powell.

The club has revamped its pavilion to reflect their status as champions, investing in new windows and other structural improvements and a new electronic scoreboard is also planned.

Quay’s title defence begins at home to last year’s title rivals PONTBLYDDYN.

Pont will want to have a say in the title race, having seen their bid for glory run out of steam last time out as they fell off the pace.

Among those hoping to mount a challenge to Quay are Premier Division new boys NORTHOP.

Skippered by Chris Brooks, Northop earned promotion last season as champions of Division One and have enjoyed some good recent campaigns in the National Village Knockout.

Their promotion renders them ineligible to compete in that competition this season, but that will be of little consequence to Northop, whose main aim has always been to secure a place at the top table.

They begin their Premier Division campaign with a trip to Brymbo on Saturday.

MOLD, meanwhile, will be hoping to remain clear of the drop zone this season after enduring a relegation battle – which they managed to survive – in 2011.

Their Premier Division season begins at home to Denbigh.

In Division One, HALKYN have secured the services of Melbourne native Corey Walters as they attempt to improve on two victories and narrowly avoiding the drop last time out.

The attacking off-spinner and middle-order batsman has just completed his duties as captain of St John’s Tecoma Down Under.

Halkyn will be led by new captain Ben Roberts and have retained all of last year’s squad with young batsman Matthew Williams, wicketkeeper Jamie Parsonage and all-rounder Tim Davies and experienced heads Maelor Thomas, Gareth Thomas and Duane Williams all returning.

Halkyn, who begin their season at Chirk, have also secured match sponsorship from Academy Of Design in Mold and Hillcrest Motor Company.

HAWARDEN PARK will be looking to bounce back at the first opportunity after their relegation from the top flight.

The club, which is in the process of establishing a new ground and celebrates its 126th birthday this season, go to Bangor to begin their quest to return to the Premier Division.

Having won promotion from Division Two, PONTBLYDDYN 2nds cannot go up into the top flight as their first team reside there, but they will be hoping to finish as high as possible to demonstrate their club’s strength in depth.

They host Gresford in their opener.