Lancaster look for strong start to put disappointing 2014 behind them

Lancaster's captain Ben Simm.
Lancaster's captain Ben Simm.

Lancaster Cricket Club will look to put a forgettable 2014 campaign behind them when the new Northern League season gets underway on Saturday.

Captain Ben Simm is well aware his charges have to improve after a year that the saw the club beset by problems on and off the field.

The Lune Road side head to Kendal on Saturday however in far better shape in all departments according to their skipper.

Simm said: “It (2014) was very disappointing, we know we’re a better team than that.

“We’re a little bit embarrassed about our performances last year and we’ve been working hard all winter to make sure that we’ll be firing on all cylinders.”

On the field for Lancaster plenty is expected of big-hitting Pakistani professional Rameez Raja in what looks to be a deeper squad.

Simm said: “We’ve got a stronger squad this year and a few more players to choose from so there’ll be good competition for places.

“By the looks of things the pro is a very destructive batsman.

“He comes with a big reputation about being a Twenty20 specialist.

“He was playing in the Bangladeshi Premier League as Chris Gayle’s replacement so he does come with big expectation on his shoulders.

“He’s experienced, he’s played round the world from Bangladesh to Dubai so I’m hoping Lune Road won’t offer him too many shocks but you never know!”

Perhaps more importantly the club has been revamped off the field with Brendan Hetherington heading a new-look committee.

It means players such as Simm, who had acted as Lune Road club and cricket chairman last year, can concentrate on the playing side of things.

He said: “We’ve got a more stable committee with a lot of pressure taken off the players.

“After being club chairman and cricket chairman I’m now captain and spin bowler and hopefully I’ll chip in with a few runs!

“We’ve got groundstaff who are working hard too and the place does look an awful lot better compared to last year.”

As for Saturday’s season opener at Shap Road, Simm in confident his side can make a positive start.

He said: “I’m really excited to get going.

“We’re looking to put last year right behind us and start afresh and hopefully get a good a good start.

“It’s always good to go up to Kendal. They’re a great bunch of lads. They are always a strong outfit too but we’re confident we can go up there and get a result.”