ABINGDON Vale are setting their sights not simply on survival when they play in Division 1 of the Cherwell League this season.

Vale, who secured promotion form Division 2 thanks to the strength of their attack last season, are keen to establish themselves in the top flight.

Skipper Jon Jenkinson said: “In the past, some of the teams promoted to Division 1 have used that as a stepping stone to greater things. That is our ultimate target.”

Vale have kept the core of the side that earned promotion, with just one addition.

Seamer bowler Charlie Pickford returns from Oxford, 12 months after his brother, Henry, took a similar route.

Vale are uncertain of the availability of the promising Ben Charlesworth due to his school commitments and those with Gloucestershire, while his father Graham is also expected to play when his coaching duties with Oxford University permi.

Breaking new ground – literally – are Didcot, who will not only be playing in Division 2 for the first time but also at a new venue.

Didcot have moved their base from the Power Station to Boundary Park, where they have named their ground after their club stalwart David Slade.

They have recruited well in the close season. Talented batsmen Richard Cook and Vishane Perera have returned from Aston Rowant and Oxford respectively.

They have also signed all-rounders Dan Swindells – formerly of Witney Mills – and Adam Webb, from Horley.

Their only departure is Aidan Kammel, who has returned to Australia.

“We feel we have a side, who can compete well in Division 2,” said skipper Jordan Morrison.

Also playing in that Division are Challow & Childrey under the captaincy of Ryan Gordon.