Northern Cricket League preview: Longridge looking forward to new era

Longridge bowler Ian Simpson is excited about the challenge ahead
Longridge bowler Ian Simpson is excited about the challenge ahead
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Longridge bowler Ian Simpson says everyone at the club can’t wait to launch a new era when the season starts on Saturday.

The club has joined the Northern League for the 2019 season after winning the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield last summer.

They have made the move across into the Northern League for the new season, along with Kendal, who were Palace Shield runners-up to Longridge last season.

“It’s what we’ve been working towards for the last 10 years,” Simpson said.

“We’ve always said we can compete with the big boys, so let’s see if we can do it.

“There is a real buzz and a real excitement around the club at the moment about what’s coming up over the next 20-odd weeks.”

They could not have been handed a much tougher start with a trip to Netherfield, who finished runners-up to Blackpool last year and also won the league’s 40-over competition.

Nevertheless, the view from the Longridge camp is that it may not be the worst opening-day fixture.

Simpson said: “First game of the season, is it the best time to play them? They don’t 
know us and we don’t know them.

“I know that we’re well prepared, we’ve had two really good friendlies, we’ve trained hard and we’re ready to go – but we’ll find out for sure come 8pm on Saturday night.

As well as a new competition, Longridge also have a new face this season with the arrival of overseas amateur Lachlan Bangs.

The 19-year-old Australian missed their first pre-season friendly with Accrington but impressed with a half-century against Didsbury last weekend.

“He’s a left-arm bowler who’s as quick as anything I’ve seen,” Simpson said.

“He’s here to learn and, as an amateur, he’s working Monday to Friday but he’s made us all lift our game.

“I’m 37 and I went to net with him and he made me train a lot harder – he’s having a great effect on us.

“We chose not to take a professional this year but Lachie’s made us all lift our standards so far and that’s what will get us over the line in games this season.”

Garstang, who won the 
Palace Shield in 2017 before finishing sixth in the Northern League last season, also face Cumbrian opposition on day one.

They welcome Barrow to the Riverside with both matches starting at 1pm.