South African to step in at Lancaster as campaign gets underway

Lancaster captain Ben Simm.
Lancaster captain Ben Simm.

Lancaster will get a helping hand from a record-setting South African batsman as the new season gets underway this weekend.

Former Barrow professional Pieter Malan is set to stand in at Lune Road for Pakistani all-rounder Jannisar Khan who is yet to arrive in the country.

Malan, 23, who became the first player to score 1,000 runs in a Northern League season for the Cumbrians in 2011, is currently the professional for Lancashire League side Ramsbottom.

He is expected to fill in for the opening two games of the season starting with the trip to Darwen on Saturday.

Captain Ben Simm said: “Jani’s having a few visa issues but Pieter is the best batsman I’ve ever bowled against.

“He’ll probably be with us for a few weeks and will be sub pro for as long as we need him.

“It’s quite a coup for us and as soon as I heard he was available I was on the phone to get him.”

Simm’s side prepared for the new season with victory over Milnthorpe in a 35-over game on Sunday at Lune Road and the skipper admitted it was nice to be going into a new season on a solid footing.

Simm said: “Everyone got a knock on Sunday so it was a good warm-up.

“It’s been difficult to get on the ground with the cold weather but the nets have been perfect really.

“We know what we’ve got to do and it’s nice to be going into a season with a bit of optimism.

“We’re looking to build on our strong finish to last season and we’ve got one of, if not, the best, bowling attacks in the league.

“It’s just a case of getting enough runs on the board.”

Like the city’s football club have in recent years, the Lune Road outfit are taking advantage of the talent at Myerscough College.

Lancashire under 19 bowler and college student Matt White has joined an attack that already boasts Simm himself, Ian Perryman and Liam Moffatt.

Myerscough coach Andrew Fletcher has also been taking training sessions which Simm says the side are enjoying.

He said: “It’s been really good. He’s making training fun.”

The season starts properly at Darwen, a place that traditionally hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Lancaster.

Simm said: “I can’t remember winning there in the 10 or 12 years I’ve been involved.

“I don’t know what the exact stat is but we’ve lost a couple of 20-20 finals there as well.

“You know what you’re going to get with Darwen they’re a good team who will be really strong at home.”