Morecambe captain Josh Dixon is under no illusions how difficult it will be for his side to retain the Northern Premier League title.
The Woodhill Lane outfit sprung something of a shock last year as they lifted their first championship since 2006 and the top-order batsman knows repeating the feat will be no easy task.
Dixon said: “Last year’s title win was beyond even our wildest dreams.
“We were just looking at the top four or top six.
“Now we know everyone will be out to get the champions.
“We want to win it again but more than anything we want to give an honest defence of our title. It’s going to be tough.”
Dixon has managed to keep his title-winning side together with star bowling pair Eddy Read and Sri Lankan overseas player Suraj Randiv all set for their second seasons at Woodhill Lane.
The squad has been bolstered by new arrivals including batsmen Laurence Reed, Eddy’s brother from Settle, and Lancaster University student Viraj Bhatia who impressed for Tarleton in the Southport and District League last season.
Promising spinner Jake Smith also returns to the club after a couple of years away from the game.
Dixon said: “We’re ready and raring to go.
“I must have had 100s of messages from the guys saying they can’t wait to get going.
“Everyone just wants to carry on the momentum from last year.
“With a few new additions we should be able to build on last year with the top four a realistic target.
“Hopefully we can bring through a few young lads too.”
Morecambe’s two warm up games against Colne and Nelson were both called off last weekend due to the wet weather.
Off the field all Northern League clubs enter the season in a state of flux with the competition’s future unclear beyond this summer. .
The England and Wales Cricket Board wants all leagues to have promotion and relegation by 2017 with a merger with an expanded Lancashire League being worked on.
The current proposal doesn’t however include Morecambe and near neighbours Lancaster due to their positioning in the north of the county.
Dixon said: “It is in the back of my mind but when we get down to it for us it’s about playing cricket and winning as many games of cricket as we can.
“It all comes under my remit as captain but I trust in the LCB (Lancashire Cricket Board) and ECB to always strive for good-quality cricket and hopefully they can bring something together.
“There’s an opportunity to do something special because there’s so many good teams in the area.”
Morecambe were due to start their season at home to Kendal on Saturday but the Northern League has postponed the opening round of fixtures due to the recent wet weather.
Dixon’s side will now begin the campaign at home to Penrith on April 23.