Wickets may still be drying out from the wet winter but teams are continuing their build-up to the new cricket season and today we launch the annual search for our own limited overs champions.

The Watford Observer Fourteen14 has long been established as the premier event of its kind in the area and clubs have until Thursday, April 17 to enter and be in with a chance of emulating West Herts, who won the Shield for the first time since 2007 with an emphatic victory over Bushey last summer.

As with previous years, an entry form is available on this website and teams wishing to take part should click here.

This form should be printed off, completed and returned to the stated address with a cheque for £40 to cover the competition entry fee, which remains unchanged.

For the first time this year, competing teams are also required to submit a squad list with their entry. This has been introduced following a review of last year’s competition when investigations were launched following two cases of clubs fielding ineligible players.

The introduction of a squad list is one of several changes that have been made to the rules as a result of the review, including the compulsory requirement that competing sides submit a team sheet prior to each match they play and the winners produce a scorecard. Failure to comply will result in the game being forfeited.

Teams considering entering are strongly urged to read the new rules, together with the list of key dates. These can also be read here.

Only two of the teams will have the chance to battle it out for the main prize but a Watford Observer title is also on offer to the winners of the Plate. Watford Grammar School for Boys have won this prize for the past two years and could be in line for a hat-trick if they enter again this year.

As in the previous 11 years since the Plate was created, eight teams will participate in the event, which will run parallel to the latter stages of the Shield.