YORK CRICKET CLUB secretary Nick Kay believes the club are facing a “transition year” following the loss of prodigious batsman Duncan Snell.

The Clifton Parkers have claimed the Solly Sports Yorkshire ECB County Premier League title for the last seven years but they have been on a rebuilding mission over the winter - and Kay says their squad has taken on a much younger appearance.

As a result, he believes they won’t be favourites to get their hands on an eighth league crown.

Kay said: “This season is definitely a transition year.

“It is the first time in a while we haven’t been favourites to win the league with Doncaster, Harrogate and Scarborough making some good signings and looking very strong this season.

“We’ll be aiming for a top five place and hopefully with players like Ben Coad and Jack Leaning we might be able to push on from there.

“But we have no expectations this season.”

York announced the signing of young Yorkshire bowler Coad in November, and have since signed Travis Ilka as an overseas player.

Ilka, 24 and from Queensland, is an accomplished wicket-keeper batsman and will replace former stumps man Nigel Durham, who retired at the end of last season.

With the possibility of future signings looking doubtful, the club is hopeful they can promote from within to replace the prolific Snell.

Kay revealed that second team batsman Simon Lambert will become part of the first team squad.

It is also hoped bowlers Jonny Moxon and Tom Pringle will recover from long-term injuries to boost the bowling attack.

Snell left York after amassing more than 10,000 runs in ten seasons, including 24 centuries. He has joined Bradford League side Woodlands CC.

York started training for the new season earlier in the month and will move from indoor to outdoor nets in April.

“There has been a good turn out with lots of new people turning up,” Kay added.

“It’s too early to judge how good they are, but we are also looking to recruit for the second team.”

York’s new season gets under way on April 12, when they play a friendly before starting the season proper against Yorkshire Academy at Clifton Park a week later.