RISHTON have signed Australian Lachlan Stevens as their professional for the remainder of the season.
Stevens replaces the injured Vernon Philander, whose contract has been terminated by the Lancashire League club.
Philander was restricted to just six games before returning to South Africa with a back problem.
And with his state side - Cape Province - insisting that no re-assessment of the injury could take place until July 24, Rishton decided to end the wait and turn instead to Stevens.
However, work permit delays mean the 27-year-old Queenslander is unlikely to make his debut at Burnley on Sunday.
Rishton have done well with substitute professionals this season but wanted a permanent man in place for the rest of the summer with an eye still on the title race.
"Having substitutes is not the same as having one here all the time, for practice and bonding with the other lads," said club chairman Rod Simpson.
"The league is wide open. We have not had a bad start and if we keep performing the same way we are in there with a chance. Hopefully our blend of youth and experience can keep us going."
Stevens comes to Blackburn Road with the recommendation of former Rishton pro and Queensland team-mate Clinton Perren.
The left-hand batsman and slow left-armer, who has also played for South Australia, helped Queensland win the Pura Cup last season.
Stevens scored his maiden first-class century against Victoria and then made 66 in the final as the Bulls beat Victoria by an innings and 354 runs.
"You know Aussies will give 100 per cent and he looks a good player," added Simpson.
"Clinton Perren is a very experienced player and he knows what is required and if you have opened the batting in a Pura Cup final you can't be a bad one."
Meanwhile, Rishton batsman Mo Ahmed was hoping to get the green light from the league to return to Accrington.