Few chairman have trod a rockier road to power than MP Sports Cherwell League chief Clive Ricks.

Having been voted in by the clubs at November’s annual meeting, the 55-year-old Ricks soon found he was virtually friendless on the executive, who passed a vote of no confidence in him within two meetings.

The rebel executive members then forced an extraordinary general meeting in a bid to oust him.

But Ricks rallied his supporters, and swept to a crushing victory.

Sitting on a bench on the boundary this week at Horspath – his cricketing home these days – the peace and tranquility is a far cry from the bitter battles he has had to fight in the committee room.

Ricks admitted the events of the winter had been “acrimonious”, but with a new season starting on Saturday his sights are now firmly on the future.

“It is certainly time to look forward rather than back,” he says. “We have an excellent team in place. We have had three executive meetings and they have all been fairly lengthy, but also very positive.

“There are very good people in place, all of whom play or umpire or administer cricket in the Cherwell League.

“There is no dearth of volunteers. I think we have most bases covered.

“The current executive is what it should be – a group of a dozen people all playing a part rather than one or two people doing everything, so I think that is a very positive step forward.”

Central to Ricks’s thinking has been the idea that the clubs should have a bigger input.

“The league needed change to people more in touch and involved with the Cherwell League clubs, and to listen to what the clubs might say,” he adds.

“There are 100 matches going on each week with more than 1,000 people involved in the cricket.

“Whether you are playing in the Home Counties Premier League or Division 10 you are there to enjoy your Saturday afternoon and if you don’t think something is right you should have the ability to say so.”

And the clubs have already had some of their wishes granted with rules changes highlighted by the scrapping of the 7.30pm finish, alterations to the points awarded for drawn matches and the reintroduction of fielding circles.

But Ricks says that however much rule tinkering is done, the emphasis remains on the captains.

“It is up to the captains to play positive cricket, whatever rules are put in place they are only as good as the people working with them,” he says.

And he believes the league is set to start the 2011 season in a healthy position.

“I think it is very positive,” he adds. “Obviously I am somewhat biased, but I think Horspath can carry on the tradition of Cherwell League clubs going to the Home Counties and doing well.

“It has got to be healthy for the Cherwell that so many of our clubs are now in both of those divisions.”

He is keen to see clubs make progress with their youth policies and pitches.

And he also wants to rid the league of its “fines culture” and make it more self-sufficient with the aim of attracting a major sponsor.

“We are looking at £15,000-£20,000 a year as a target figure,” he says.

In the long term, he can envisage regionalising the lower divisions – especially if petrol prices continue to escalate.

But, in the meantime, his focus is firmly on the new campaign.

“I would like to see positive cricket played and absolutely no disciplinary hearings whatsoever,” he adds.

“The intention is to get to the end of the season and everyone has enjoyed the cricket they have played, whether they have got to the top or the bottom of the league.”