Andy Bennion will captain Cheshire's Over 50s side in 2022, taking the reigns from Richard Jarvis.
A late stater to the game, Bennion plays his club cricket at Alvanley where he's had two stints - from 1990 - 2000 (3 years as captain) and from 2006 to present. In between he "fulfilled a Premier League ambition" with a strong Chester Boughton Hall side. There's an affinity to Cheshire County Officers in there too and he remains a stalwart of the Chester County Midweek League with West Cheshire College, rather than playing over 40s cricket.
Bennion starts his captaincy tenure at Cheshire on a high having sampled cup final cricket for his beloved Alvanley at Lords in his last game of 2021. They may have lost out to Calmore Sports but he'll tell you what a tremendous experience the occasion was.
Push him (admitedly, not very hard) and he'll tell you his cricketing highlight was putting a six into the Mound Stand at Lords. Time is clearly blunting this memory however as the stand appears to be getting further away from the edge-of-the-square pitch with every telling!
2021 was a decent season for the popular opener, scoring 321 runs for Cheshire Over 50s, averaging 40.13. And he's relishing the new season.
"It's a thoroghly enjoyable experience," he said, citing Mel Dobson as a great influence on his being part of the side. I think it's really important we establish the right blend. There's some great experience in the side - the likes of Robin Fisher, Nigel Muirhead , Mike Holt, Chris Beckley and others - but we need to spread the net wider.
"We're a better side than our league position showed last year (Cheshire finished as wooden-spoonists), there's no doubt about that. Availibility was tough.
"No doubt too that it'll be hard this year but we're aware of that. We've got seven games to prove ourselves and it would be great to push up towards that top four.
"Back to availibilty and of course not everybody can give up a Wednesday to play and travel some of the distances we do. But it's rewarding, great fun and the cahnce to continue playing good quality cricket."
So the message is clear. There's room for newbies. As the skipper says, "I know there's some folks out there just nudging the age of 50 and looking to carry on playing. Please get in touch. And if you've just moved to the area - or are moving here shortly - terrific."
There's a pre-season get-together for existing and new players at Alvanley CC on Wednesday night 27 April, followed by a pie and pea supper. All are welcome.
Cheshire will face first class county competitors in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Durham and Nottinghamshire as well as Cumbria and Northumberland.
Full Cheshire CCC Over 50s 2022 fixtures here
Picture shows Cheshire CCC Over 50s at Toft in 2021. Andy Bennionis back row, second from left.