Nelson and Colne ready for new cricket season

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NELSON and Colne are both looking to progress ahead of the start of the Fosters Lancashire Cricket League season.

The Seedhill side finished fifth last year, improving on successive sixth-places, but have undergone a big turnover of players.

Colne, meanwhile, have been at the other end of the table, but are moving slowly away from the basement, having finished bottom in 2009, 13th the year after and 11th last time out.

They have seen some stalwarts call it a day over the winter, but have young blood ready to seize their chance.

Both start with home games on Sunday (wickets pitched at 1 p.m.), with Colne hosting Enfield and Nelson entertaining Rishton.

Colne professional Shadley Van Schalkwyk is available, however, Nelson paid man Shahzaib Hasan is not yet in the country.

Rizwan Hussain has returned to Nelson from Goldborne, but Khurram Nazir has joined Colne, former skipper Thomas Lord, Stuart Lemon and Peter Dibb have gone to Clitheroe, and Sam Halstead will play for Ramsbottom this season.

New skipper Neil Thompson is hopeful of a profitable campaign, however.

Speaking to www.lancashireleague.com, he said: “Having lost some players over the winter, I am hopeful the new campaign will prove to be a success in rebuilding a strong first eleven squad and progressing more talented juniors into the senior ranks.

“As a team I feel we are well balanced with experience and talent in all departments, but more than ever this season hard work, dedication and a huge team effort will be required.

“Having kept some key senior players and signed a fantastic young professional in Shahzaib, our aim for the season ahead is to continuously play to our capabilities and therefore develop consistency in the level of cricket we play.

“From pre season so far, lads appear to be giving 100% and enjoying their cricket.

“All I ask is we take this enthusiasm and hard work with us into the season and tackle each game as it comes.”

Colne, along with Nazir, have signed Michael Wrigglesworth, but have seen Jeff Ellis and Gary Hunt hang up their spikes and John Lambert join Foulridge.

Captain Matt Wilson is sensible about the team’s ambitions: “I think we can surprise some teams this year and I am almost certain of an improvement this term.

“We have all learned lots in the past couple of seasons and our young lads are ready now to step up to the plate.

“We have a squad who are raring to go and looking forward to playing some cricket.

“We know the league position isn’t going to turn on its head in one season but we are all working hard to progress now, season by season.

“We have signed what looks to be the perfect league pro’ in Shadley and also one of the best all-rounders in the league in Khurram.”