DENTON West CC have made two signings as they aim for the premier league.
The Greater Manchester Cricket League side will take part in premier two this year, the second tier.
But they have signalled their intent by bringing in Pakistani professional Asif Afridi for the 2021 season.
And England international Callum Flynn will also line up at Windsor Park this year alongside international colleague Jordan Williams.
Afridi, 34, scored almost 1,100 runs and took 120 wickets over the 2018 and 2019 seasons as West begin their season at home to near neighbours Flowery Field on April 17.
Denton St Lawrence, who won both the GMCL, premier league title and the Derek Kay Cup in 2019, start away at Astley and Tyldesley while Denton start their division one campaign at Prestwich.
At second-team level, both West and St Lawrence compete in division 2B, with the former starting at Wythenshawe and the latter at home to Springhead.
Denton CC’s seconds begin their division 4E campaign at home to Saddleworth.
After a Covid-ruined 2020 season, the GMCL has introduced several new rules and regulations for 2021.
Firstly, it has reduced the number of promotion and relegation places generally from four to three.
However, that will now be determined by the final placement in the division and the ground standard.
And as the GMCL warned: “The bottom line is that if your club does not engage with the grounds team and does not make any improvements required, your team cannot be promoted and can be placed in the relegation pot irrespective of your finishing position in the division.”
Every month, clubs will be assessed on a number of criteria, ranging from quality of pitch and facilities to whether there is a wi-fi signal for the scorers to disabled access.
From there, clubs will be graded as gold, silver or bronze standard, with gold standard clubs much more likely to host cup finals.
And premier and premier two sides must be gold standard, but as the GMCL stated: “If a club’s grading is lower than the standard set for each tier as detailed above, then clubs must make progress towards the relevant standard or risk being relegated or not promoted.
“At the end of the current season, relegation to the next lower division can be imposed unless the club submits a letter, by September 1 in that season, signed by the club’s chairman and treasurer, as well as any relevant documentary and/or financial evidence, confirming that the requirements for a grading relevant to the tier will be in place before the start of the following season or if agreed by the GMCL board a longer period of improvement may be granted.”