CHESHIRE open their Minor Counties Championship campaign against Dorset at Oxton CC this weekend hoping to kick-start a run which will hopefully see them lift silverware come the Championship final in early September.
Last year the county struggled to field it's best XI players because of a lack of availability and work commitments from those involved within the squad.
And although a string of talented youngsters came in and did well in difficult conditions, it was not enough for Cheshire to win any honours - a disappointment having tasted the sweet success of having won the Western Conference in the 2000-2001 season under the guidance of long-serving skipper Ian Cockbain.
But now Andy Hall is captain and looking forward to his second year at the reigns of a promising team which he believes has the strength-in-depth to win something this term.
Hall, who plays for Bramhall in the Murray Smith Accountants Cheshire County League Premier Division, has already been in good form with the bat this season, smashing 122 and 76 for his club in the National Club Knockout Championship, as well as chipping in with some valuable innings in the league.
And the former Minor Counties Under-25s skipper is hopeful that he can lead from the front and inspire his players to perform this season as they search for the championship title.
"A lot depends on availability this season," said Hall, who spent the winter working and playing cricket in Australia, which he has done for the last five years.
"If we can field our strongest team this year then we have every chance of doing well - I'm confident we will be a match for anyone. It's hard getting the best 11 players every game because of work commitments and also because a lot of players play for their club's in cup competitions on a Sunday, so it's difficult to maintain a consistent side.
"The main one this year is to win the league, but I think we've got a chance of doing well in the cups as well, especially the Knockout. We've got a good side to face Dorset, but we have had to make a few changes."
Indeed, Chester Boughton Hall wicket-keeper Steve 'Shamus' Ogilby has dropped out of the side because he has still not properly recovered from a hand injury and experienced all-rounder Paul Bryson is unavailable because of work commitments.
Those absentees have left a gap open for Mike Bentham, the Oulton Park wicketkeeper, to fill the gap behind the stumps, while former Lancashire batsman Paddy McKeown is being lined up as a replacement for New Brighton player Bryson.
"Shamus isn't available because he's just come back from injury, so Mike [Bentham] is going to keep wicket and then we have just got to fill that batting spot left by Paul [Bryson]," added Hall. "It's a good side and important we get off to a win. If we start badly then it's going to be hard work, so I'm hopeful we can get into gear early on."
Former Cumberland seam-bowler David Pennett is also set to make his debut for Cheshire come Sunday, while Macclesfield bowler Barney Cutbill has again been give the chance to shine with the ball, as has Oulton Park's Chris Jones, who has already shown some good early form this season.
The county have also opted to give promising youngsters Danny Leech, a gifted opening bat, and Nafees Din, an emerging batsman at Mobberley, the opportunity to make a name for themselves and score some useful runs this season.