ST ASAPH have now firmly emerged as the main challengers to Menai Bridge for this year’s North Wales Cricket League Premier Division championship.

The Saints have picked up where they left off last season under Will Ryan, turning in a number of exceptional recent displays to further catch the eye after a standout 2017 season.

While the task ahead of them may be a steep one given how well Bridge have started the campaign, there is plenty of cause for optimism within the squad given the club’s strength in depth and senior consistent performers on both sides of the ball.

Their top order has given them a tremendous platform from which to build, and Ryan has been at the top of his game once again to further enhance his growing reputation as one of the most dominant batsmen operating anywhere in the region.

He has top scored with 455 runs from 12 innings’ at an average of 56.8 during a memorable opening to the season, and his leadership on the field and decision making during critical stages has been another massive component in the Saints’ overall success.

Overseas star Nathanael Scott has also hit the ground running in his second season at Elwy Grove Park, producing a series of scintillating knocks to average an outstanding 61 at a strike rate on 78.

They will need Scott to continue this form going forward, especially considering the strength of Bridge’s batting attacking who are scoring at will on a consistent basis.

Recent signing Duncan Midgley is another that was expected to play a huge part in the middle and he has lived up to expectations so far, providing an assured presence at the crease to average 41 in yet another boost to the side.

Their bowling attack has also taken no prisoners during the early stages of the campaign, with Jason Foulkes confirming his status as one of the best with the new ball in his hand operating anywhere within the top flight.

He has carried the majority of the workload and thrived with the extra responsibility, claiming 25 victims at an average of 14 and a strike rate of 26.

This equates to 26 per cent of the team’s wickets, and Foulkes will need to keep producing these sort of quality number if the city side are to take home the trophy later this summer.

Ryan’s men have plenty of contributors with the ball in the form of Rich Marsh-Evans, Paul Fleming, Alex Baker, Midgley and veteran David North, something which gives the skipper a great deal of choice and something that has stood them in extremely good stead so far.

With the second unit seemingly running away with their division, and given the young age of the squad in cricketing terms, this is a group that is only going to get better so even if they do not manage to surpass the title favourites this time around, then it won’t be long before the Elwy Grove Park outfit is celebrating some sort of major silverware.