Lytham St Annes CC go into the new Northern Premier League Division One season with a new professional and hopes of a better season at Vernon Road.
Indian all-rounder Saurabh Bandekar will miss today’s opening game at home to Lancaster because of a visa issue.
However, St Annes captain, Matt Grindley, goes into this year’s campaign full of confidence.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to it, we set a good platform last year and we have a lot of young lads and a lot of new faces so we should be looking to build on what we did last year.”
Relegation to the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield has now been introduced into the Northern Premier League this season.
It’s a change which has been welcomed by the captain.
He said: “I think it’s a massive step forward, I think it’s the way we’ve got to go now.
“It provides competition right the way through the season
“It’ll introduce new blood to the league, there are a lot of good teams in the Palace Shield that will want to come in and challenge.
“Everyone is aware that they want to stay in the Northern League so I think it’ll be a really good season going forward.
“You see a lot of character with how people cope with the pressure and I think it’ll be a good test for some of our lads but I have a lot of faith in them being more than up to this season”.
Grindley is looking for progression in his young team over the course of the season.
That progression also includes himself as he embarks on a second season of captaincy.
“My first year as captain there were always a few challenges for me with a few more things to think about during the game but I think I learned a lot through last season,” he admitted.
“For such a young team the lads have been brilliant and they’ve stepped up massively, it made my life a lot easier.”
St Annes are at home again tomorrow when they compete in the opening round of this year’s Royal London Knockout.
They meet Burnley-based Read CC from the Ribblesdale Cricket League.