ACCRINGTON are hoping they will be having a knees-up at the end of this season - that’s if their older players can manage it!
Accrington will be favourites to win the title again after keeping more-or-less the same team who did the shock double last season with the league crown and the Worsley Cup.
The finished bottom the season before last and almost went out of business before the additions of the likes of captain David Ormerod and ex-Lancashire and England star Graham Lloyd along with pro Roy Silva brought a revival and longed-for glory.
But captain Ormerod admits there were a few aching bones in the last campaign - and he is hoping that this season it doesn’t take its toll.
"Knees are a problem with us at the moment," said Ormerod, who turned 40 this year.
"Matt Wilson is going to have an operation on his knees and Paul Carroll’s knees aren’t the best. I have two dodgy ones too so don’t mention knees!"
He says there is a bit of a "golden oldie" look about the side but they will be supplemented by some young blood, despite bowler Toby Bulcock joining last season’s runners-up Rawtenstall.
Carroll is 47, Lloyd is 39 and Damian Clarke is 37. These, though, were the backbone of the Accrington success last season and Ormerod can’t see any reason why it can’t be repeated.
"We may be golden oldies but if you can still do it, then carry on as you are a long-time retired," said the skipper.
"There are a few of us held together with glue and tape but we seem okay so far.
"We don’t consider it to be a hindrance but a help as their vast experience is always a boost.
"But we have young players as well. James Ormerod can replace Matt as wicket keeper and he will provide good cover.
"Simon Hanson came on in leaps and bounds last season and we have Stuart Crabtree and Graham Sneddon who seem like they have been around for ages but are only around 21.
"It will be hard this season as last year we were a surprise package but we haven’t changed our personnel much and the expectations are high.
"The problem is that everyone will raise their game against us and want to beat us."
They are hoping Sri Lankan pro Silva will be back in time for tomorrow’s Colne Trophy clash against Todmorden at home before they kick off their season against 2007 champions Rishton.
"Roy will be in his second year in the league and he will have got used to the conditions and we are again hoping for big things from him. We are just keeping our fingers crossed he will be here for the weekend as he was due to arrive today."
The last team to successfully defend their title were then Ormerod’s team Bacup who won it three times from 2000-2002. He is out to do it with Accrington and perhaps top the double with a treble.
"We want to do better in the 20/20 this year too. We are taking the Colne Trophy seriously as it is quite a few years since Accrington have been involved and it will be nice to start the season with some silverware.
"But it will be a tight league this season. Todmorden have added a few players, Nelson will be strong, Burnley could be pushing for honours while Enfield, if Gary Brent plays a lot of games, could also be up there.
"It will be difficult - but we are up for the challenge."