GREAT Harwood have won the Ribblesdale League title once in 108 years - and now they want to make it two in two years.
Harwood made their charge for the top of the table early last season and held their nerve to finally picked up the championship trophy after their long, long wait.
They have lost pro Syed Shahabuddin, their main wicket taker with 92 victims last season, but hope 31-year-old Pakistan all-rounder Raouf Akbar - called Rufi for short - will come up with the goods.
"He is waiting for his visa, as is every other Pakistani pro coming over to the UK," said secretary Stuart Maher, with the paid-man not here for the opener.
But, even in his absence, they want to kick off their season in style.
Harwood’s opening two games are local derbies with Oswaldtwistle Immanuel and one of their title rivals Baxenden and new captain Russell Whalley is praying for another triumphant season - but knows it will be tough.
"I have got a hard act to follow," said Whalley, who has been skipper before.
"Allan Armer did a good job as captain last season and won the title so it is hard for me to follow that and will be a hard test for the players as well.
"But, if we play like we know we can, then I can’t see why we can’t be there or thereabouts.
"I think one of the reasons we won it last season was that we did play as a team.
"Everyone chipped in and won a match for us when needed.
"I remember the first game where last batsmen Stuart Maher and Paul Newton won it for us.
"Then there were other games where the pro almost single-handedly won it for us and Allan Armer won us another and I won one. It was as a team and we do have a really good bond.
"We have managed to keep it together although bowler Paul Newton has given up cricket for family reasons, Allan Armer can only play on Saturdays also because of family reasons while Paul Houldsworth has broke a bone in his hand - but he hopes to play tomorrow."
After a spell out of league cricket, Richard Shovelton, a left arm seam bowler will add to the captain’s option.
And they are hoping the new pro will come and replicate Shahabuddin, who could not return because of visa problems.
"Rufi comes with a good pedigree and if he does what his pedigree says then he should be good for us," said the captain.
"It is hard getting a new pro but hopefully he will settle in well. It is important he does."
They will have a sub pro for tomorrow’s clash at New Lane and Whalley will not under-estimate Immanuel, who finished bottom last season.
"I think that could be a tough game. When I was captain before Oswaldtwistle beat us when we were going well and so we can’t take any game lightly.
"They have got a few new players and, if we do lose our first game, that would put the pressure on us.
"I think Oswaldtwistle could be a surprise package this season - not to challenge for the title - but upset a few people and win a few games.
"Baxenden are one of the favourites with Oscar (Ian Austin) and Baber (Naeem) and I think the pressure might be more on them than us.
"Padiham are always strong and have a few new signings. They are a good side with good individuals while Clitheroe have Josh Marquet back so they will be a threat. There are a few who could be up there."
And, while it is a team event, Whalley is concentrating on his own game.
"It was great to win it last year but I was disappointed with my own contribution. I think I got about 370 runs and didn’t get as many as I would have liked.
"I put it down to having a thumb injury during the season as I had to have my ligaments rebuilt in my thumb. I missed quite a few games and it wasn’t strong when I came back. This season, if I don’t perform, I have no excuses."