We preview the new Ribblesdale League season ...
- Captain: Nick Payne
- Professional: Chris Cook-Martin
- Last Season: 13th
- Ins: None
- Outs: Daniel Metcalf (Greenmount)
Captain’s View: "I have been around the club a long time, most of my life, and when the captaincy job became available I was keen to do it.
"We have lost Daniel Metcalf, who’s moved on, and his brother Andrew is unlikely to play this season due to injury.
"That’s quite a volume of runs and wickets to replace and recruiting new players has been difficult. It hasn’t been through want of trying but perhaps having finished second bottom last season doesn’t make us the same attraction that other clubs might be.
"But we will battle on and it’s up to everyone to try and improve that little bit and contribute more to make up.
"The veteran Gerard Metcalf is carrying on, and with Imran Abid and him both with 50-plus wickets last season we are well served in the spin department.
"If we can put totals up we have an attack which can exert pressure and win games.
"Another stalwart, Steve Sipocz, will continue to play a part and we hope that Kurt Smithson and Oliver Clare will weigh in with the ball.
"I am hoping to follow up a good season with the bat with another one.
"Oliver Clare is due some big runs, he’s a technically gifted player, and Oliver Jones will also get opportunities opening the batting.
"We are hoping for eight or nine hundred runs from the pro too.
"We know we aren’t going to win the league but we don’t want to be the whipping boys either. We should have won a few more games than we did last year and if we convert those chances maybe we can move up a few places.
"I would expect Great Harwood, Read and maybe Barnoldswick to be among the challengers for the title."
- Captain: Stuart Maher
- Professional: Syed Shahabuddin
- Last season: 8th
- Ins: Amar Ullah (Enfield)
- Outs: Allan Armer (Brooksbottom, Pro), Liam Noon (Retired), Richard Swanney (Retired)
Captain's view: "I am looking forward to my first full season as captain, and the return of Shobby (Syed Shahabuddin) as pro who served us so well in 2008.
"I am also looking forward to having a pro here for the first game of the season, quite a novelty over the last six years…
"It really does help with getting off to a good start having your pro here, not least the time it take to get sub pro’s week in week out.
"Losing Allan Armer, who has signed as professional at Brooksbottom CC, is a big blow, but we have effectively got one new signing in Russell Whalley and have signed Amar Ullah from Enfield, who has impressed us in pre-season.
"This will all add depth to the batting and bowling options in the squad.
"Other than that, at the time of writing, its as you were from 2008-2010.
"As for aspirations for the season, losing your leading run scorer and wicketkeeper a month before the season causes us difficulties, but if the professional performs we have the capability to back him up in the squad and push for the title again.
"I would like a run in the Ramsbottom Cup too, as I haven’t won that trophy myself.
"I do believe that if anyone finishes above both Read and Barnoldswick they will be champions, and that is the target – as it always is at Great Harwood.
"We remain an ambitious set of lads, and if we can back up that ambition with performances on the pitch, we will hopefully be there or thereabouts come September.
"Certainly we will be hoping to improve on last year’s very disappointing eighth position.
"We haven’t been out of the top three or four in much in my career and I hope that we can get back to consistent performances. I am certainly looking forward to the challenge ahead."
- Captain: Andy Caunce
- Professional: Babar Naeem
- Last Season: 3rd
- Ins: Andy Caunce (Ramsbottom), David Mills, Liam Riley (Both Walshaw)
- Outs: Ian Austin (retired), Gary Sudworth (Haslingden)
Captain’s View: "It’s my first crack at captaining a side since junior level and I’m really looking forward to it.
"We have had a good pre-season, culminating in a win over Ramsbottom last Sunday.
"The lads have been responsive to the plans we have, there has been a lot of fitness training and work on fielding, which is one of the most important areas in cricket.
"There is a good atmosphere in the changing room as we look to restore a bit of the spark which maybe wasn’t quite there last year.
"We have high hopes for some of our youngsters like Ben Swindells and David Cronshaw.
"Plenty of players made good contributions in the warm-up games with bat and ball and hopefully with the buzz around the club they will hit the ground running when the league gets under way.
"Read are going to be very strong and Barnoldswick will have a bit of a say too but I expect us to be up towards the top in the shake-up."