EXCITEMENT is growing among the crown green bowls community for the new season.

After a cancelled campaign last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Mid Cheshire Bowling League returns on Thursday, May 20, when some of the lower divisions have their first fixtures.

The action will then get into full swing 24 hours later.

All members will be glad to be back on the greens and there is bound to be an upset or two as the season progresses.

Castle Sports A will be looking to defend their Premier League title from 2019 and look to stretch their consecutive league wins to three.

They will no doubt fight it out with their major rivals Wharton Cons, the current Brunner Cup holders, at the top of the table.

Rumour has it that Wharton Cons have recruited some new players over the winter so they will be doing their utmost to bring Castle's winning streak to an end.

Helsby enter the top flight and they could spring some surprises on their newly laid artificial green.

Crosstown join Helsby in moving up from Section One.

Due to a restructuring of the league, Section One could prove to be the most competitive league.

It is expected that Wharton Cons B, Crewe Post Office, Meadowbank and possibly both Owley Wood teams will be looking to make a promotion push.

The first round of fixtures where Owley Wood A and B meet could be a spicy affair and it is going to be interesting to see if Owley Wood B’s rise up the leagues continues.

Shavington A are bolstered by players joining from the Hop Pole, so the mixture of a difficult home green and players experienced at a higher level may see them take the spoils in Section Two.

The restructuring of the league makes it difficult to call in some of the lower sections, with teams that had gained promotion in 2019 having remained in that league and teams joining from leagues above.

Notably, Norley A have jumped up two divisions but will probably start the season favourites in Section Three.

The preliminary round of fixtures of the Littler Cup will be played on Monday, May 24.

The pick of the ties sees Owley Wood B looking to repeat their giant-killing exploits of the Whitby Cup in 2019 when they take on the Premier League title holders, Castle Sports A, at Davenham.

Winnington A will have designs on overcoming higher ranked opposition, too, when they take on Red Lion A at Delamere.

The preliminary round also sees three inter-club clashes.

Rudheath Sports C and D teams meet at Wharton Cons, Comberbach A and D meet at Moulton RBL and Owley Wood C and D. All six teams will be looking to establish some early season bragging rights over their fellow club members.

On a disappointing note, some local greens have been lost during the pandemic.

Hop Pole and Hazel Pear teams have dropped out of the league, with their greens no longer being used for bowling.