LIFE is good at Edgworth – and promotion back to the Greater Manchester Cricket League’s Premier Division would top off a memorable year for the Bolton Road club.

In three summers of Greater Manchester League cricket, they have been relegated from the top flight, promoted and relegated.

So one more year of yo-yo-ing would be perfect for new coach Nigel Partington and captain Liam Watkinson, who started their Division One B campaign with a 94-run bonus-point win at Thornham on Saturday as they pursue a top-two finish.

Off the field, an impressive £250,000 renovation of their clubhouse and changing facilities has just been completed, with David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd cutting the ribbon at the grand opening this Wednesday (6.30pm).

Work on new nets is also due to start imminently.

“The new facilities are amazing,” said Partington, formerly of Tonge.

“I’ve been really impressed with everything at the club. Those in power have ambition and are not happy in this division. I played a bit at Tonge last year and did some coaching. I was planning to just watch a few games here and there, but Liam asked if I’d get involved.

“I went to see the cricket committee around Christmas, and their ambition sold it. It didn’t take long to decide, ‘Yeah, I fancy this’.”

Unless there is an emergency, Partington’s playing days are over. “My knee’s gone,” he smiled.

Instead, he will leave that to Minor Counties all-rounder Watkinson, who has taken over the captaincy from Lostock-bound Adam Syddall and will be available for most fixtures despite coaching commitments at Bolton School.

Watkinson showed his quality on Saturday with four wickets as Thornham, chasing 242, were bowled out for just 147.

He leads a side including plenty of up and comers.

New-ball seamer Josh Fallows is one, having just played first-class games for Leeds/Bradford University against Derbyshire and Yorkshire.

Alex Hughes, who sparked a recovery on Saturday from 55-4 batting first to 241-8 with a brilliant unbeaten 86, is another.

New professional Umega Chaturanga, a Sri Lankan first-class left-arm spinner, missed Saturday’s game. But prolific Western Australian wicketkeeper batsman Christian Smith debuted as overseas amateur.

Tonge sub pro Tilaksha Malshan hit 54 and shared 90 for the fifth wicket with Hughes before adding three wickets.

“We’ve got some good youngsters and the nucleus of a good side,” said Partington.

“I don’t know much about the league, but that was half the attraction – a new challenge.

“There’s no secret to it. It’s just hard work. I want more from everybody, from Liam and the pro to the youngsters. Saturday was a great start.”

The GMCL are restructuring from next year onwards, moving to a Premier Division, a new Championship and then Divisions One, Two, Three, Four West and East and Five West and East.

Four teams will be relegated from the Premier this season and two up from the existing One A and One B.

The top half of each division below the promoted teams will then make up the Championship, while the bottom half go into Division One.

That is also replicated right down the pyramid.