Walsden face Rochdale in season’s opener

Walsden travel to Rochdale for the opening game of what will prove to be a crucial season for the Central Lancashire League club.

League changes mean that from the 2013 season the league will be split into two divisions based on the finishing positions of clubs during the coming season.

Walsden need to finish in the top eight to guarantee first division status the following season. Last season the Scott Street club finished eighth.

They open their matches against one of the league’s top clubs, Rochdale, who finished third last season and are expected to be among the front runners this year.

Walsden expect to have a strong squad despite the loss of three players, Joe Hanson, Elliott Gilford and Kristian Garland to Todmorden.

Before they open their league season on Sunday they will play a friendly at Cheshire League club Bramhall and hope to have their new professional Sri Lankan Ranil Dhammika in place for that game.

The left arm spin bowler is reported to have had a good season in his native country.