THE unmistakeable sound of ball against willow will be heard again later this month when the new domestic cricket season gets underway.

Ayr begin their Western Union Premier Division campaign at home to Dumfries on Saturday, April 29, while Prestwick take on Kelburne at the Henry Thow Oval.

The first derby will be staged at the Henry Thow Oval on Saturday, June 3 while Ayr will have home advantage against their South Ayrshire rivals on Saturday, August 5.

Both sides are in action in the Citylets Scottish Cup on Sunday, May 14. Prestwick will entertain Fifers Falkland, while Ayr host East Kilbride.

But for those who can't wait for the domestic action to begin, the much-sought-after Wisden Cricketers' Almanac, which covers the sport around the globe is now available from all good shops or online.

The cricket bible is, as ever a great read and this year's edition includes a fascinating feature on former England captain Alistair Cook who celebrated becoming the first Englishman to score 10,000 runs, while there is also an intriguing feature on Test Match Special, the acclaimed radio show which aside from highly-rated analysis has over the years featured cakes, buses and the shipping forecast.

Former England international cricketer Derek Pringle also looks into the controversial issue of ball tampering and recently-appointed England captain Joe Root relives his epic 254 against Pakistan. There's a feature on Middlesex's memorable first County Championship success since 1993 and a look back at England's year in Test Matches and Twenty20 cricket.

It's a compelling read.