Coleraine Cricket Club are determined not to be one-season wonders as they prepare to defend the North West Premier League title they won in such style last time out.
Without a major trophy since 1986, the Sandel Lodge outfit won a superb three major trophies.
They romped home in the NW Premier League, eight points ahead of their major challengers. They also won the Ulster Cup, beating Waringstown on their home turf, and also prevailed in the Faughan Valley Cup final, holding their nerve to beat Donemana in a sudden death shoot-out.
Team Manager Trevor Harpur though says they are determined to build on it this season.
“Our ambition for 2014 is to defend our North West crown and to improve our performances in the Senior Cup,” he said.
“With regards to the Irish Senior and Ulster Cups we will look to take each round as it comes and hopefully give a good account of ourselves in each.
“The recognition received by the entire club on the back of last year’s success has given many people a real lift in the past six months and all of us are determined to bring more success back to Coleraine.
“We believe that there is real balance in the side again this year and having kept the majority of the title-winning team together we are looking forward to a competitive summer.
“We have strength and depth in our batting line up and really good options in both the seam and spin departments.
“Gordon Cooke takes over as captain and has recovered really well from knee surgery earlier this year so he should be fit to play a full part in our campaign.
“John Ring will be available for the full summer and looked a really good player in his one outing for us last year against Strabane.
“Jarred Barnes is here as well and our new professional is 24 year-old Kyllin Vardhan, a batting all-rounder from South Africa.
“The team generally has developed well over the past few seasons and the players have gained experience playing together.
“As well as that, several of them have benefitted enormously from being involved with both the Ireland underage set-up, and of course under the guidance of Bobby Rao with the Warriors and Warriors Academy, which should serve the club well.”
The Bannsiders’ chances this summer depend very much on a number of factors. Firstly, they need that top order to do what it did last time and provide a solid platform for the bowlers. Niall McDonnell, Scott Campbell, Johnny Ring, Vardhan and the Cooke boys have bags of ability but they will be tested much more this season as reigning champions.
After that, Gareth Burns, Barnes and the skipper will be keen to stage a repeat of their efforts last time while Campbell, Rishi Chopra and Vardhan have to back them up.
As well as that the likes of Donemana and Strabane will be back in the running this time after indifferent seasons in 2013 and Brigade are sure to be bang in the mix as well