OTLEY, who were denied a third consecutive Aire-Wharfe League championship on the final day of last season, start the new campaign on Saturday against Burley, one of their main rivals for this year’s title.

Beckwithshaw took last year’s crown by three points, mainly thanks to their 100 bowling bonus points and the fact that Otley suffered one more abandoned game than they did.

One thing is certain - there will be a determination at Cross Green to put things right this year.

They have strengthened an already impressive line-up with the signing of Stephen Brown, who last season scored more than 600 league runs in a struggling Kirkstall Educational side, and have also brought in Nathan Goldthorp from Rawdon and Sam Boyden from Menston.

But they could hardly ask for a tougher opener.

Burley were hot on their heels last season and have also strengthened with big-hitting Red Bolton joining from Ben Rhydding, while James Ford and Nicky Bulcock return to the fold, the latter from Otley.

Ed Brown, with more than 700 runs to his name last year and already a half-century in pre-season, takes over as Burley captain as they seek their first championship since 2010.

Elsewhere in Division One, Horsforth seek to build on last year’s excellent fourth-placed debut in the top flight.

They entertain Ilkley, who are captained this year by Will Spivey.

Pool, who have decided to go without an overseas player, welcome a Rawdon side that will have a few new faces under skipper Andrew Duckworth, including Australian all-rounder Marcus Berryman, who takes over the overseas slot from Kuda Samunderu, who has moved to Collingham.

Having bounced back to the top flight after only one season in Division Two, Guiseley will be seeking to consolidate under new captain Stewart Smith.

They have signed former Scotland and England international Gavin Hamilton from East Bierley ready for their opener at North Leeds.

Last season’s upheaval in the league mean there are five new sides in Division Two, three promoted and two relegated.

Division Three champions Hall Park have beefed up their squad and will get a good indication of their prospects at Kirkstall, who were relegated last year, just 12 months after finishing third in the league.

Steeton also dropped out of Division One. They have signed Jake Starkey from Upper Wharfedale and, under new skipper Paul Hardaker, travel to Adel.

Promoted Tong Park Esholt start life in the middle tier at home to Thackley, who have again lost some key players, including Andrew Stothart, Jack Holland, Amer Ayub and Josh Brooksbank.

Addingham, with South African Jan-Harm Moolman filling their overseas slot, entertain the third promoted club, Leeds Modernians.

Silsden’s switch to the Craven League means there will only be four matches in Division Three each week but plenty of interest with the introduction of two new clubs.

Great things will be expected of Saltaire, who have kept the nucleus of their Bradford League side and will be looking to lay down a marker when they travel to Menston, who have Kiwi Doug Bradley back for a second season.

The other new boys, St Chads Broomfield, are at home to New Rover.

Newly-relegated Harden play host to Olicanian, with both sides having considerably strengthened their squads.

Green Lane, who have narrowly missed out on promotion for two years, will also want to get off to a strong start at Alwoodley.