Burnley captain Dan Pickup is excited to be involved in all the historic changes set to be introduced in the Lancashire League.
The 31-year-old identified the positive impact that newcomers Clitheroe and Darwen have had on the division this year with the top two shaking up the title race.
As part of the transformation, which will continue with the split of the hierarchy on August 5th, seven new clubs will be introduced next season to take the total to 24 teams.
Crompton became the latest addition from the Pennine League with Rochdale, Norden, Littleborough, Walsden, Middleton and Milnrow, all former members of the Central Lancashire Cricket League, also signing up.
The league, which has been in existence for 125 years, will then split in to two divisions for the first time in the league’s history in 2019 with clubs fighting for promotion and fighting against relegation.
“There are another seven teams coming in and we’re all in favour of it. As everyone has seen this year, with the additions of Clitheroe and Darwen, the new teams have added something extra.
“They’ve raised the standard at the top end of the table. The calibre of the teams coming in is good, they are strong teams, so it will make the league even more competitive.
“It adds a freshness and that’s something that we enjoy. We’ll be playing against new opposition on new grounds and against new players.
“It’s exciting to be involved in all the change and we are looking forward to testing ourselves against a few more sides.
“The introduction of new teams will be really good for the competition.
“In the longer term it means that more sides will have something to play for towards the end of the season.
“Teams see their seasons fizzle out quite early on with this format. There will be less chance of that happening now.”
Burnley travel to Chatburn Road tonight to replay their abandoned Twenty20 quarter-final against Clitheroe. They’ll then travel to the Horsfield to take on Colne on Sunday.