Brigade face tough challenge to retain title
The senior title found its way back to Beechgrove in pretty convincing fashion at the end of last summer but the champions look to have a real scrap on their hands if they are to make it back-to-back successes.
Pakistani Ata-Ur-Rehman played a significant part in the Beechgrove club's efforts last time but the strike bowler and hard hitting batsman won't be returning to the Limavady Road this summer as Brigade seek to replace him with fellow countryman Ali Khan.
The 22-year old is a top order batsman domiciled in the UK and his inclusion becomes all the more urgent with the loss of Chris Dougherty to CIYMS. Dougherty was excellent for Mark Simpson's side over the past couple of seasons but having lost Niall McDonnell at the start of 2011 the top order looks more vulnerable now.
David Barr, Mattie Moran and Gareth McKeegan are all capable of opening the batting with Iftikhar Hussain, Khan and Johnny Thompson in behind but you could argue that the pressure will be intense on them to provide the title chasing runs.
Brigade's bowling attack is as good as any in the country with Thompson, Simpson, Ryan Brace, Graeme Moore, Hussain and Trevor Britton all proven wicket-takers.
They have that winning mentality as well but just look a fraction light at the top of the order and will need Khan to at least match Rehman's efforts if they are to have a chance of winning it again.