Torrisholme Cricket Club’s captain is targeting six of the best in his side’s bid to stay in the Palace Shield Premier Division.
Matt Jackson’s Boundary Meadow men open up at Eccleston on Saturday knowing that there’s no time to get settled in to the summer.
Most outsiders are tipping the two teams to be amongst those who will struggle with Jackson hoping his side can get off to a fast start.
Top order batsman James Collinge, a Lancaster University student from Didsbury, and former Ambleside man Callum Steele have been added to the core that sealed survival on the return to the top tier last year.
“We’ve still got Chris Parry, Daniel Woods and myself and Graham Lee has said he’s going to do another year as he always does,” said Jackson
“Between that group I’m looking for most of the runs and wickets.
“It’s a really big game against Eccleston.
“Everyone thinks we’re two of the clubs who will struggle along with Rufford.
“Our first target is six wins because that’s pretty much what has been needed to stay up.
“That’s not being negative, I’m just being realistic.
“If we can get those six and consolidate, we’ll see where we can go from there.”
Finding those much-needed victories will be easier said than done.
The skipper knows the quality of the opposition is only going to increase as sides chase a potential spot in the Northern Premier League, as per the link-up agreed by the two leagues over the winter.
Jackson is happy with the move but believes both competitions should be held under the same format, the Palace Shield matches played as per traditional one-day rules while the NPL continue with winning and losing draws.
“Everyone is pushing for that top two and a spot in the Northern League and the top of the pyramid in North Lancashire,” he said.
“It’s not quite right for me at the moment.
“The two tiers should be playing under the same rules and for me if it’s a one-day format it should be one-day rules.
“But it’s aimed at allowing the lads routes of progression and it’s doing that.
“Palace Shield clubs would lose players to the Northern League and Northern League clubs would see players head to the Liverpool Comp to get the attention of Lancashire.
“It will certainly help improve the quality. It’s better than people realise anyway.
““The Palace Shield sides have shown they can compete. Longridge knocked over a couple of Northern League sides in the cup last year.
“It’s going to help the lower leagues too.
“If the Northern League second teams end up being merged into the lower tiers of the Palace Shield then they’ll be facing our second team which means more local cricket.”