2024 cricket countdown and diary dates

Although the weather might not appear massively appealing for stopping a rasping cover drive there are just four weeks to go until the start of the JW Lees Lancashire Cricket League season on Sunday 14th April. 

There`s been a lot going on behind the scenes to prepare for the new season so here is some information to bring you all up to speed with developments and provide you with some key diary dates for the next six to eight weeks, hopefully covering your questions along the way!

What is the state of the ground and will there be a Ground Force day before the season?

Although the ground looks in great condition if you are passing on the road the truth is that it is unsurprisingly very soft underfoot. Too soft to bring heavy machinery on to the ground just yet for certain key pre season tasks.

This does mean that any dates quoted for activities ahead of the season start are provisional and will remain subject to ground conditions and our assessment of fitness to allow access to the playing area – but let’s be optimistic and plan for the weather to be mild and dry so that we can get some dates outlined as a framework plan!  

There are no plans to hold a Ground Force day this year, Andy Skinner and the team are making good progress on general preparatory tasks and we have agreed that less ‘boots on the ground’ is the best approach while everything is so soft.   

I’m hearing we have had hybrid pitches installed, what does that mean?

The installation of two hybrid pitches is a measure of further investment in improving the broader cricket playing facilities at the club.

We believe that this initiative keeps us at the forefront of quality in the local area. Hybrid pitches should offer us more flexibility and take some pressure off the square in terms of pitch availability but they are not to be confused with artificial surfaces and so will need a period to ‘bed in’. The location of the pitches will mean that they are used mainly by our senior teams.

We also have invested in quality brand new nets, will there be an official opening and how soon can I get in them to practice?

The new two bay nets were installed just before Christmas and are another demonstration of our commitment to improve the quality of cricket facilities. There is no planned ‘official opening’ some may recall that Phil Neville opened the previous nets back in 2015. The provisional first date for senior practice when we plan to use the nets for the first time is Thursday 4th April subject to the weather and ground condition. Thereafter we plan to hold senior training twice weekly on both Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm. 

Have we got any pre season friendlies or activities?

The first team have an away date with Oulton Park CC on Saturday 13th April

In addition we plan to hold an intra squad training afternoon at Greenmount on Sunday 7th April, once again subject to ground conditions. 

When does junior practice start?

The plan is to commence junior practice on Friday 19th April for under-9 through to under-16, the official Junior League season starts w/c 22nd April

The All Stars programme does not start until Friday 10th May. 

Once again we will offer under 9, 11, 13 and 15 age groups with teams entered in appropriate leagues.

When does our professional arrive ?

Jacques Snyman will arrive from South Africa on Friday 12th April. We are hoping he will be available to attend a promotional event with our new sponsors in the evening. Jacques is keen to offer one-to-one coaching to any young aspiring players throughout the summer. An interview with Jacques will be published in the coming week so you can catch up with what he has been up to recently.

We have new sponsors? 

We are delighted to announce that Mercedes Benz of Whitefield have kindly agreed to become the official main club sponsor and will feature on all our playing shirts. Watch out for a separate feature on this exciting new partnership in the coming weeks plus a series of promotional events through the season. Thanks to our previous main shirt sponsors GHW Solicitors for their long period of support over the years.  

We have new kit too ?

We have undertaken a complete refresh of all kits from general whites through to T20 and junior kits along with a brand new range of training and leisurewear. All available from Ian Senior at SK Kits either in his store in Market Street, Tottington or in person at the club. 

Have we got any new players, any update on the ‘transfer merry-go-round’?

We have brought more new players to the club during the winter than in the past two seasons combined! The first team needed a spin bowler and a keeper so we welcome the vastly experienced Amal Dalugoda from Heaton CC and Jack Hallows from Rawtenstall CC to the club.

In addition Gav Nicholl has joined us from Woodbank CC, Toby Ashworth from Ramsbottom CC and Toby Leach from Vernon Carus CC. We wish all our new players every success and enjoyment with the club, welcome on board. Just for added interest, Amal has been recently selected to join the England Over 50s squad! 

On the flip side we are sorry to say farewell to three home grown players as Evan Williams, Ryan Senior and Matthew Senior all depart. Congratulations to Evan who leaves us for an amazing opportunity as professional at Kendal CC which will undoubtedly bring opportunities to represent Cumbria again. We are very proud to see home grown players earn such success albeit it is of course a shame to see him move on. I am sure we will see plenty of all three lads in the summer.

It is also sad to see the departure of Rebecca Senior after 12 years’ experience of scoring, my thanks for such fantastic commitment. We are extremely grateful to Tracey Brooks, Stephen Merry and John Egan for stepping up into the First team fixture programme to offer their top level scoring experience.    

When is the first match at home?

The Second team will kick off play at the Mount on Sunday 14th April versus Crompton swiftly followed the next week with the local derby clash of the first team against Ramsbottom!     

The Third team start away at Church on Saturday 20th April and will be at home for the first time on Saturday 27th April against Rishton

When does T20 start ?

First team skipper Travis Townsend

We begin the defence of the T20 cup on Friday 24th May away at Todmorden. The first home Friday night game is against Norden on Friday 31st May    

Where can I get further information?

Follow us online for up to date news, reports and announcements throughout the summer. Meantime don’t hesitate to contact  members of the cricket leadership group.

Travis Townsend will captain the first team, Oliver Dixon and Mark Crowther continue as second and third team captains respectively. Leigh Dickinson continues as junior lead. Wishing you all a fun and enjoyable season

John Stevens (Head of Cricket)

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