Morecambe CC skipper anticipates a hard-fought season

Morecambe CC captain Alex Briggs believes his players face a very competitive Moore and Smalley Palace Shield top flight in 2022.

By Gavin Browne
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 4:45 pm

Preston visit Woodhill Lane on Saturday as Morecambe look for an immediate return to the Northern Premier Cricket League for the 2023 season.

While Briggs has outlined his desire to finish in the top-two in 2022, he acknowledges there are a number of teams keen to prevent them from doing so.

Chief among them is the side which finished bottom of the pile in the NPCL 12 months ago and joined Morecambe in the Palace Shield as a result.

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Luke Pearson is among the survivors of Morecambe's squad from last year Picture: Tony North

Briggs said: “I played for four years at Morecambe and played in the last year in the Palace Shield, so I played against a few of the teams who are in there.

“Fleetwood look as if they have recruited well.

“I think they will be miles better than they were at the end of last season in the Northern League.

“Barrow will be a decent side. I think they will be tough, especially when teams have to travel up there.

“I think that plays into their hands but, hopefully, that won’t affect us too much when it’s our turn to go there.

“Thornton Cleveleys look like a decent team side this year but I don’t know a massive amount about them.

“We played Kirkham and Wesham at Woodhill Lane one year: they looked a decent team and just missed out on promotion last year, so I think there are going to be four or five sides up there challenging.”

There are also no qualms about starting at home either, especially given an off-field addition to the ranks.

Briggs added: “It’s good to play at home to get back into the new season because there are familiar faces around.

“It doesn’t make a massive difference though but, the way it was last time in the Palace Shield, playing away from home on different pitches may play a part this year.

“I think we’re going to be more adaptable though and what will help us is having a new groundsman.

“We lost our old groundsman at the end of 2020 so Damian Gudgeon (head coach) was having to do the majority of the work as well as having to coach and run the cricket side of things.”