AMMANFORD Cricket Cub's new captain, Ieuan John, is under no misapprehension whatsoever about the key ingredient for success in the coming season.

"Each player has to take responsibility for his own performance and not leave the job to others," insisted John. "Practice and accountability are vital. If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail."

With Ammanford having grittily consolidated their position in division one of the South Wales League last season, John is hoping for far greater things for the coming summer. "We stayed up by the skin of our teeth. Without Alun Evans, we'd have gone down," was the new skipper's realistic appraisal of last term's campaign.

Gratifyingly, Alun has remained loyal to the club, despite lucrative offers from elsewhere in South Wales and beyond, including the Lancashire and Birmingham leagues. Having been incomprehensibly released by Glamorgan at the end of last season, Evans will be hoping to duplicate the form that last summer made him the first Welshman to pass one thousand league runs. Not that the new captain has any intention of allowing his team to rely on Alun again.

"If the players in this team play to anything like their true potential, we'll win the league," he predicted. One can't help but see his point. With new vice-captain Gary Phillips set to open the innings, the batting line-up is stocked with mouth-watering style and aggression.

An addition to last season's squad is 18-year-old David James from Hendy, who rejected offers from Pontarddulais, Llanelli, Dafen and Llangennech to come and play for Ammanford. A middle order batsman and medium pace bowler, his contribution is eagerly awaited.

At the other end of the age range, Jeff Roach begins his 31st season for the club. "I don't understand it," mused new skipper John with a shake of the head. "After all these years, they still haven't figured him out!"

Ammanford open their campaign with a home match against Maesteg Celtic this Saturday, May 3.