Firstly Apologies for the lateness of this and the lack of some summing up from last season that was promised, but what can I say? I Forgot.
So here we are the 2011-12 season and in NEMLA Premier 2 to boot. As such, we should be in for at the very least an interesting year going to new places (Mellor, Old Stops, Poynton and Nottingham) and not going to Hull.
After the jump we'll have a very brief and unscientific look at what Prem 2 might hold for us this year.
Let's start with the promotion favourites: Mellor and Brooklands.
Both teams are full of players with top level experience including a host of current and former internationals for countries other than France.
Brookands might feature a couple of old stagers from the Toon Army, being Stash and Harry "First Mandallion" Collins, along with everyone's (or more accurately, my) mate Jeff Ketts. Added to these familiar names are Wales' Paul Simpson, Rob Dinsmore and the obligatory couple of LDOs.
Mellor should be stacked for this level with players like Matt Marsh, Will Sugden, and Tom Roche to name the three whose names I can remember.
Both will be looking to get straight back up, and will probably be aiming to do so without a tally in the L column, we’ll see on Saturday evening who’s likely to be the big dog as the two start off their season against each other this weekend.
In the next band we have last year's survivors; Norbury, Stopfordians, Nottingham, and Poynton.
We are no strangers to Norbury as a venue, and can expect more of the same hardnosed competitive lacrosse that we've experienced there in the past, but this time faster and harder nosed and more competitive than ever before.
Old Stops used to be a mix of old hands and youngsters, but with the removal of lacrosse from the PE syllabus has removed their source of young blood. When you look at the number and quality of Stopfordians around the leagues you can see what a fertile breeding ground the school and club have been, and the club hasn't evaporated, so they'll be a tough proposition.
Nottingham are a club like us, but with a few more years under their belt; a club isolated in the northern lacrosse wilderness with a large student element to the team. They'd been a D2 (prior to the reshuffle) for a long time and have a solid core of quality players and feature our own Steve Warwick amongst their alumni. Recent years have seen them struggle to field competitive sides week in week out, but on their day they’ll have the quality to trouble anyone in the league.
Poynton will probably have the most “traditional” team, in terms of age range etc outside of the top two. They’ll be backing themselves to push Mellor and Brooklands all the way, and bolstered by the return of James Prescott from Durham Uni in D they’ll definitely start as my third ranked team for the year. Other names you might recognise will be Luke “everyone’s favourite” Johnstone as well as Della and Andy Worrall who played for us at Bath this year. We’ll be relying on Mylo to take his beatings like a good boy, and to provide some insider info after rocking the Poynton Orange last year
That leaves our old marras at Liverpool. To say we know what to expect from them is probably an understatement. They will be rocked by the loss of their emotional leader Jay Jones to Wilmslow, and the rumoured departure of other notable figures (not to be named).
All in all if we can force out a near to full strength team every week we should be in with an excellent shot at a mid-table berth come the end of the season, and other than that I’m making no predictions.
Let’s hit the field.
Previews, match reports and general musings from the Toon and beyond.