ALTHOUGH Kington have now gained promotion to Division 3 of the Birming-ham League, there will still be three Herefordshire clubs looking to follow them up as champions of the Crusader Worcestershire League Division 1.

Among the favourites to head the table will be Brockhampton, who finished in third position last time.

The villagers, who will be led this season by Adam Hewlett, have secured a major coup by adding Herefordshire skipper Chris Boroughs to their playing staff and he will boost the batting alongside his Minor Counties colleagues Ashley Nahorniak and Henry Langford.

Boroughs is also set to have a significant part to play in the bowling attack, which is again likely to be led by another Minor Counties player Richard Parker with off-spinner Simon Crump, who also represented the county last term, providing back-up.

Bromyard, who finished in mid-table last term, are hopeful for the new season but certainly see their county rivals as potential table-toppers.

"We see Droitwich and Brockhampton as favourites for the title," said former skipper Edd Oliver, a key figure in the Bromyard middle-order. "But as long as we don't struggle too much with availability, we're confident of a top-half finish."

Bromyard will, however, have a few changes to contend with on the playing side with overseas all-rounder Zahid Saeed taking over as skipper from Dave Kyte who is in the USA until June.

"Pete Whittenbury, one of our most consistent bowlers over the past two years, is serving with the army in Afghanistan, while another bowler, Dave Taylor, is only available for a handful of games," said Oliver.

"And, unfortunately, our young off-spinner Ben Ford has left to join Barnt Green in the Birmingham & District Premier League."

There are new arrivals, however, with Dan Brace, a young seamer from Ombersley, and Matt Day, an all-rounder who used to play for The Mote CC in the Kent League, signing on and hopeful of making an impact.

Experienced Dan Mills has taken over as skipper of the second Xl with Dave Clegg leading the third team.

Eastnor, who finished in a highly-creditable fifth place last time around, will again be looking to the talented all-rounder Shahid Ahmed to boost their challenge.

Skipper Jabran Khalid, who made a spectacular debut for Herefordshire last term with a return of 7-32 against Oxfordshire, the best figures by a county bowler in Minor Counties cricket, will be an important figure, too, as will his brother Faisal, who also represented Herefordshire in 2006.

The club will be also hoping that promising youngster Josh Emery will continue to show the development which took him to the brink of the county side last year while overseas star Atiq Ur Rehman, a wicket-keeper batsman who also turns his arm for some useful leg-spin, will again be a major figure.