Barnoldswick’s Paul Beech believes the club can challenge for the Ribblesdale League title after winning promotion.
The Victory Park club won Section B last year, to climb back into the top tier.
And after the departure of champions Clitheroe and Great Harwood, who finished third, to the Lancashire League, the title race could be wide open.
Sri Lankan Shashrika Pussegolla returns as professional, after scoring 982 runs overall last year, while the club have also engaged Australian overseas amateur Patrick Turner – a 20-year-old opening bowler and middle order batsman with Dandenong, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria.
Barlick open the season at home to Ribblesdale Wanderers tomorrow, and Beech said: “Before Clitheroe won four titles in a row, we were the last side to win it, in the old format, and hopefully, come the end of the season, we will be there or thereabouts again.
“I’m not saying we will win it, but I think we can be one of a handful of sides up there.
“Settle are always strong, Whalley as well, and though Padiham are in Section B, they are a handful. Read usually have a good side as well, so there’s no out and out favourite.”
Barnoldswick have lost skipper Luke Hodgson, who has moved to Swindon, but Beech is excited by the prospect of Pussegolla and Turner: “Shashrika had a good year for us and is a quality player, as is Patrick.
“He’s a young player from Victorian Premier Cricket, and we have high hopes he will make a big impact as well.
“With those two, and experience around them, and some promising young players coming through as well, we’re hopeful of having a good season.”