Key gains: Rheubyn Prattley (Albion), Tyler Haslemore (Marist), Michael Hall (Riversdale)
Key players: Jared McKenzie, Glen Paterson, Warrick McKenzie, Prattley.
Captain: Grant Anderson
Lowdown: Waikoikoi has been the fairytale story in the Combined Country second-tier Southland club cricket grade in recent years, with the small Eastern Southland team dominating the competition.
The cricket club, situated in a little farmlet area, is now taking the bold move to step up a grade this season, opting to play in the senior grade.
Waikoikoi isn't likely to be out of its depth in the senior grade, particularly in the batting department.
The likes of Jared McKenzie, Warrick McKenzie, Glen Paterson and Grant Anderson have all been strong contributors in the Combined Country grade and are expected to have few troubles making the step up.
They have also bolstered their stocks with the recruitment of Southland Hawke Cup player Rheubyn Prattley.
Their captain, Anderson, has plenty of previous senior experience, which includes captaining Invercargill club Metropolitan for several years.
The club will still have a team in the Combined Country competition, which will be made up of promising young players in the district who will play alongside some older club members to give them guidance.
The Waikoikoi Cricket Club has plenty of community support, including a strong family of sponsors, with Healthy Soils Ltd their lead sponsor for the next three years.
Losses: James McLean, Hayden Potter (work commitments), Rheubyn Prattley (Waikoikoi)
Key players: Michael Grattan, Steve Waddell, Grant Gutschlag, Nick Leggatt
Captain: Michael Grattan
Albion have made good progress in the senior grade in recent years and now have a group of experienced cricketers who will be pushing for even more success this season.
They will be without key all-rounder Rheubyn Prattley, who has transferred to neighbours Waikoikoi for this season. James McLean and Hayden Potter will also be missing because of work commitments but the club is working through potential options to bolster the side.
Michael Grattan was one of the big movers in Southland club cricket last season, progressing to the Southland Hawke Cup team, and will be looking for another big 2013/14 captaining the Albion team.
The club again will be supported through the 2013/14 season by major sponsor North Gore Dairy.
Key gains: Sam Ward (Dunedin), Kris Walker (returning after a break from cricket).
Losses: Shaun Fitzgibbon (UK), James and George Mulvey (Auckland), Tyler Haslemore (Waikoikoi)
Key players: Sam Ward, Josh Fitzgibbon, Jeremy Boyle
Captains: Jacob O'Connell and Kylie Frost
Lowdown: Marist have a young group of players who are looking to build on last year. The club is excited to have new Southland Cricket Association development officer Sam Ward joining its senior team, and he will go some way to covering the huge loss of Shaun Fitzgibbon as the team's wicketkeeper-batsman. Marist have also been bolstered by the return of Kris Walker, who is back playing cricket after some time out. Marist have also decided to have a crack at entering the Otago-Southland club knockout competition this season.
Gains: Mahesh Shanmugasundaram (Invercargill-Old Boys). Bibhas Biswas (India), Richard Wilson (out of retirement)
Losses: Andrew Meikle (Australia)
Key players: Clinton Goad, Calum Johnstone, Jamie Clark, Mark Ross, Bibhas Biswas, Daryl Williams, Rick Harding.
Captain: Tim Eade
The lowdown: Appleby were among the standout teams last season when they won the weather-effected Declaration competition and, for the second straight season, made the one-day final.
With plenty of bowling options to call on, captain Tim Eade will be spoilt for choice this season as they look to go one better in the one-day competition. Appleby will be looking for a bit of stability in the top order through new recruits Mahesh Shanmugasundaram and Bibhas Biswas and more emphasis will be placed on veterans Goad, Ross, Williams and Johnstone to contribute as well. Appleby have plenty of experience to call on. Greg Munro will back another season and club legend Richard Wilson has stepped out of retirement.
Appleby will yet again have a senior reserve team playing in the Combined Country competition to provide depth in the club.
Gains: Andrew Hanley (Auckland), Nishant Sharma, Mayank Nautiyal, Amarpreet Singh (all from India via SIT)
Losses: Ryan Meyer (playing in Tasmania), Simon Wadworth (elbow surgery), Khanin Saikia, Nick McMurtrie, Quinn Stewart (all work commitments).
Key players: Jason Domigan, Jonathan Hodson, James Wadworth, Matt Anderson-Stewart.
Captain: Jason Domigan
The lowdown: Invercargill-Old Boys would have been disappointed with their 2012/13 season given the strong squad they formed, and will be looking for an improved 2013/14 season showing.
They have lost a couple of key and experienced players, such as Ryan Meyer and Simon Wadworth, but look to have some handy recruits to fill the gaps.
They include Andrew Hanley, an all-rounder who is getting back into cricket after a six-year break.
Nishant Sharma looks to be a good off-spinner/middle-order batting prospect who is a qualified physio and is studying sports and exercise at SIT.
Mayank Nautiyal is a top-order batsman who is also studying at SIT, and Amarpreet Singh is a wicketkeeper-batsman who will take over the wicket-keeping duties from the injured Simon Wadworth for the season. He is yet another SIT student.
The club still has plenty of experience to call on, with long-serving Hawke Cup players Jason Domigan and Jonathan Hodson in the mix.
The Invercargill-Old Boys club has had a major boost with Invercargill law firm AWS Legal agreeing to sponsor the club for the next three years.
SOUTHLAND BOYS' HIGH SCHOOL
Gains: Josh Simms (Auckland), Kurt Patterson (also teaching at school, played on or two games for Marlborough a couple of years ago), and just the usual players progressing from Colts.
Losses: Ryan Acland, Tom Laidlaw, Blake Hansen (all year 13 pupils who are playing for another club or have study commitments for the first half of the season).
Key players: Bailey Andrews, Nic McCallum, James Ng, Chris Neylon, Craig Smith.
Captain: Nic McCallum
Lowdown: The pupils struggled last season but have a talented bunch of boys coming through who are now a year older and should be ready to step up. They have also added a couple of extra adults to the playing squad couple of experienced adults helping out both as players and in the development of the youngsters.
They include Josh Simms, who is a former New Zealand under-19 representative who has also played at Hawke Cup level in the North Island.
Fellow teacher Kurt Patterson, who played Hawke Cup cricket for Marlborough, will also be on hand to help out.
Added to this is former Volts bowler and experienced Southland club cricketer Chris Neylon, and Southland Boys' High is the province's best-resourced school for cricketing guidance.
The Boys' High bowling stocks look settled, with Otago age-group players Bailey Andrews and Nic McCallum leading the attack, however, as always with the school team, there will need to be improvement in the batting from last year.
Key gains: Ryan Acland (SBHS), Akrash Christian (India via SIT), Dupinder Saroya (India via SIT)
Losses: Ryan Duffy (Dunedin), Hamish Skelt (Auckland).
Key players: Mark Beer, Hamish Cooke, Hamish O'Brien, James Crisp, Matt Burgess.
Captain: Jason Osborne
Lowdown: Metropolitan will have to go about trying to defend their one-day title this year without their run-scoring machine Ryan Duffy, who will play his club cricket in Dunedin this season to try to advance his Volts selection prospects.
The Tigers have recruited batsman Akrash Christian, who is from India and currently studying at the Southern Institute of Technology on the John Wright Scholarship.
Metro have also picked up Ryan Ackland from Southland Boys' High School.
There has also been a blow to the Tigers' bowling stocks, with Southland representative Hamish Cooke returning with a back injury after a stint playing in England during the New Zealand winter.
He will play solely as a batsman and will look to make an impact in that department.
Young bowlers Nick Cantwell and Jared Simpson will be provided with more opportunities this season, while leading players from the club's senior reserve competition will also get a chance throughout the season to test themselves at senior level.
Jason Osborne has replaced Mark Beer as captain, and Logan Savory will coach the Tigers this season.
- © Fairfax NZ News