As the sound of rain rattling off the covers and welly squelching into the outfield rings through the air, it can mean only one thing; Cricket at Papplewick is back, and with it the 2018 Fantasy Cricket Competition!
In a competition dominated by Alice South (who we have since found cheated by equipping herself with 2 brains for much of the season) and Charlie Blatherwick (who certainly can't be accused of similar), 2017 saw the long awaited return of Fantasy Cricket to Papplewick Hall.
With the 1st XI and 2nd XI dominating their respective leagues and receiving promotions, player values (based on last years' performance) have sky rocketed, making bargains higher up the club hard to come by. However, with the 3rd XI yet again plying their trade in Division 5 of the Bassetlaw and with Andy Paulson (£9m), fresh from state-of-the-art 'bionic man' surgery, many of the regular faces in the 3rd XI should come under close consideration.
Last years top performer, Charlie Blatherwick (£9.5m), will undoubtedly be another popular selection; however with overs restricted to 12 per bowler and with new signing, Professional Matt Carter (£9.5m), the spin burden in the 1st XI will be shared, which could turn Fantasy Captains' attention to the likes of Singh (£6.5m) and George Blatherwick (£6.5m).
Alex Lloyd (£8.5m) fans will have to consider their early season strategy, with the Loughborough 'Doctor of Sweat' missing for the first three weeks of the season. This could see the likes of Taylor (£5m), Bowers or Adam Rostance (both £5.5m), tasked with filling the void in the batting stakes.
It is also yet to be seen whether fellow Loughborough man, Harry Ratcliffe will have quite as much uptake given the steep price increase to £9.5m. This could see captains opting for a more budget option behind the sticks with J McCann (£2.5m), D Stokes (£5m) or Niall Towle (£2m) all potential candidates.
New Club signings Harry Franklyn (£5m), Tim Wyatt (£5m) and Jason Caunt (£5m) will be sure to provoke interest with Captain's looking for undervalued talent, although it is yet to be seen whether Captains will flock to marquee Professional, fast bowling all rounder, Jack Blatherwick, valued at £9.5m.
Elsewhere, Fantasy Captains could opt for talented duo Sam Watson (£5m) and Freddie McCann (£4m) or the seriously cheap George Stewart (£2m) and hope his performances with bat in hand are as good as when he is holding a microphone.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your sides picked now; points start being scored on Saturday!!
Updated 22:37 - 30 Apr 2018 by Michael Blatherwick