THE West of England Premier League (WEPL) begins tomorrow, with Taunton’s ‘big three’ all competing across the various divisions.

Taunton St Andrew’s are the highest placed of the sides, with the Wyvern Club outfit set for another crack at Premier 1.

They are under new captaincy, with Jack Cooper having taken the reins from James Regan - who moved to Bridgwater at the end of last season before a U-turn which means he is back at the Saints for the 2019 campaign.

Cooper said: “We are as well prepared as we have ever been.

“Justin Burke has been instrumental in helping out with fitness and coaching, and our pre-season matches have gone well.

“James [Regan] was grateful for what Bridgwater offered, but he reflected on it and realised all his friends play here and decided he wanted to stay.

“It is massive for us to have him available, as he is such a talented player.”

The Saints still have Somerset pair Eddie Byrom and Tom Banton signed on, while they are also hoping to blood a couple of the under-15 side who reached the national finals last season.

“James Rew and George Thomas have been playing for us in pre-season and look ready for first team cricket,” Cooper said.

The Saints narrowly avoided relegation last season after starting well, and Cooper is hoping the side can be competitive again this season while making their home ground a fortress.

They begin by welcoming defending champions Clevedon tomorrow (12.30pm start).

The strength in depth at Taunton Deane is evidenced by the fact two of their senior men’s sides will be playing WEPL cricket this summer.

The first team, again captained by Rob Woodman, kick off their Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset campaign at Ilminster tomorrow (12.30pm).

Woodman has recruited off-spinning all-rounder Jamie Stephens, who he has played alongside for Devon, while Sam Loud and Harry Thomas are back from their travels Down Under.

Grant Davey and Charlie Sharland, a product of the Deane’s youth system, have rejoined the club from Ashbrittle.

The Deane 2nd XI, led by Russell Jones, are in WEPL Somerset and are looking to continue their momentum having been promoted last season.

They open up at home to Street tomorrow.

Taunton could have been joining them in the Somerset Division having finished bottom of Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset last season, but were offered a reprieve as no sides were relegated following Glastonbury’s pre-season withdrawal.

They have signed off-spinner Ned Dunning and Jesse Vertonghen has joined as an overseas player, while they will also benefit from the greater availability of opening batsman Charles Clist.

Clist, who set a Millfield School batting record last summer with an innings of 254, has now left school and has spent the winter in Adelaide; opening bowler James Hayes also spent a productive winter in Australia.

Clist will act as vice-captain, with Hugh Kelly staying on as skipper.

Kelly said: “Consistency in selection will be key.

“We have a young squad and have, in the past, been a bit too reliant on public school players.

“This year, we have a solid core of local lads.

“Our first target is to stay in the division, but I think the side we have - on paper - is good enough to push for the top four.”

Taunton start their season at home to Midsomer Norton tomorrow (start 12.30pm).