Lancaster CC skipper has two hard acts to follow

Jamie Heywood won’t be short of any advice when he leads Lancaster CC into the new Northern Premier Cricket League season.

By Gavin Browne
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 4:45 pm

The opening batter is the new first XI skipper at Lune Road this year, replacing Ben Simm who stepped down after almost a decade at the helm.

However, Simm will remain on hand for any guidance if necessary – and there’s also the small part of the new captain following in his father’s footsteps.

David Heywood also skippered Lancaster and, at the age of 32, his son takes charge of a team which finished runners-up to Blackpool 12 months ago.

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Jamie Heywood takes charge of Lancaster CC’s first XI this season Picture: Tony North

“It’s a little bit weird,” the new captain said of his appointment.

“Obviously I’ve grown up with it, given my dad was captain was years, and I’m really looking forward to it.

“Ben is still going to be a massive part of the team this year, which is like taking a bag of bricks off your back.

“I know I’ve left it a bit late in terms of age but that’s one of the reasons I’m doing it: if I hadn’t, I’d have regretted it once I’d finished playing.”

Lancaster had reclaimed their spot in the Northern League after winning the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield in 2019.

However, the pandemic meant Lancaster had to wait a year before finally pitting their wits against the Northern League’s leading lights.

While Morecambe, their fellow ‘new boys’ started well before a desperate second half of the season brought relegation, Lancaster continued to churn out results.

Blackpool were comfortable champions and Lancaster held off Netherfield for second spot – though only six points separated them from Garstang in fifth.

On the face of it then, the only way Lancaster can improve this year is to win the league for the first time since 1986.

“If we do that then I’m done, I’m finished!” joked Heywood.

“To beat what we did last year is going to be so hard.

“This is what the Northern League want, they want to be the best league, and teams have to get better players and better professionals.

“Blackpool, Netherfield and Garstang have always been really competitive but, if we can peg teams back with our bowling, I can see us being there or thereabouts.”