CHURCH CC have made four new signings but say good-bye to one of their stalwarts for the forthcoming Lancashire League season.
One of their big signings is young fast opening bowler Andrew Metcalf from Ribblesdale League side Oswaldtwistle Immanuel and they have also added Alan Howarth, Ryan North and Adam Jarrett to their side.
Meanwhile, veteran Mark Aspin has retired.
The addition of Andrew, 19 this month, is a big boost to the club.
He had been at Immanuel since he was seven years old and he admitted it was hard to leave the club where his dad, Gerard, is captain.
He said: "I have decided to join Church as I simply feel that it is the right time in my career to move up to the Lancashire league where I feel that my cricket will improve and develop further.
"Hopefully I will settle down quickly as I already know a few faces at the club from when my dad was at Church over a decade ago.
"I will miss playing for Oswaldtwistle. I have been at the club since I was seven and have some great memories from my times all the way from the Under 11s to the first team.
"I am going to carry on coaching the juniors there and supporting the club in every way I can and thank everyone at the club and wish them the all best."
Captain Phil Sykes said: "I am delighted we have signed Andrew. He is a very talented young cricketer."
Alan Howarth has taken wickets in the Central Lancashire, Lancashire and Northern Leagues while Ryan North is a talented young batsman. Both have joined from Haslingden.
Jarrett, meanwhile, has signed from Enfield. He played several first team games there but has not played for the last few years because of college commitments.
Meanwhile the club say good-bye to Aspin. He has been an influential cricketer, starting at Accrington in the 1970s. He was a pro at several clubs before joining Church in 1996.
In his 10 years at Blackburn Road, he has scored almost 5,000 runs and taken more than 150 wickets and holds the record for the most number of centuries at the club.
Sykes said: "Mark has been an outstanding cricketer for nearly 30 years in the local leagues and his record of runs scored and wickets taken is remarkable. Mark has been a match winner with bat and bowl and I am sure the competitive nature he has will continue on the golf course now!"
- THE club are holding a series of events this year to mark the 150th anniversary of the club. The first event is an "Evening with Mike Watkinson" on Thursday 13 April. Tickets are 10 and £5 available from chairman Don Holt on 232059.
- INDOOR nets for senior players will start on Thursday 16 March at Moorhead. Friendlies have been arranged against Ormskirk on Sunday 9 April, Horwich on 16 April and Woodbank Saturday 22 April.