BAXENDEN are tipped by many to clinch their first Ribblesdale League title since 1993 - but vice captain Mark Rishton says he has heard it all before.
Rishton has stepped down after skippering the side for three seasons and ex-England batsman Ian Austin - nicknamed "Oscar" - will take over in charge at Back Lane.
They have got a highly-rated pro in Baber Naeem as last season, the then Edenfield paid man got 1226 runs and 76 wickets.
He will replace Will Purser and the addition of hard-hitting Naeem - who starts the season against his former club Edenfield tomorrow - does mean that Bash are tipped for the top.
"We finished third las t season, second the season before and third the season before that and I think each time we have been one of the favourites and haven’t won the title," said Rishton. "So we know now not to get carried away with pre-season talk.
"I have been captain for three years and it was time for a change. I haven’t won the title in that time so it is time for someone else to have a go. I want to concentrate on my own game and I am sure Oscar will be a good captain.
"And Baber is one of the best, if not the best, professional in the league. Hopefully he will have a good season for us."
Austin did chip in with 612 runs last season but Bash were always playing catch-up. "We got off to a bad start and Harwood took charge and we were always chasing them after that," continued the vice-captain.
"And when they did slip up, we did too as our middle and lower order wasn’t strong enough so hopefully we have strengthened that."
Bash have lost top batsman David Parkinson who has returned to his former club Farnworth as a paid man. But they have added batsman Lewis McIntosh from Haslingden and bowler Dave Taylor from St Annes.
"Lewis is just 21 and has good promise while Dave is a bowler and knows Oscar from St Annes," continued the vice captain. "We have lost Dave Parkinson and he has got us around 600-700 runs a season so that’s why we have gone more for a batting professional this season.
"And we need our middle order to improve.
"For example Callum Waddington got around 600 runs the season before last but only around 300 last season. I also need to improve my own game.
"We can’t depend on the pro all the time but we need others to be chipping in, which is what didn’t happen last season. The middle order are young but are now a year more experienced and they need to come more to the fore."
While, Baxenden are hot favourites, Rishton knows there are other threats. "Padiham have been similar to us in the last three years and they will be up there challenging again.
"Clitheroe are also strong and Great Harwood will want to win the title again. It should be close."