New Burnley skipper Dan Pickup says that there is no pressure on his players to try and fill the void left by Vishal Tripathi as the 125th edition of the Lancashire League looks to get going at the second attempt.
Turf Moor’s loss was certainly Firwood Bootle’s gain with skipper Craig Prince cooing to the Liverpool Echo: “Vishal will add a different dimension to our batting. He played one of the best innings I’ve ever seen against Bootle when Burnley knocked us out of the Lancashire Cup this year.
“But I’ve also been really impressed by his intense desire to win and his knowledge of his own game.
“He’s a very experienced cricketer. He’s exactly what we need. He’s scored loads of runs in the Lancashire League and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he adapts.”
Tripathi scooped the senior batting award during his last two seasons at Turf Moor, surpassing Jon Harvey’s 20-year-old record in the process when firing 1,138 runs in a single season.
However, Pickup is confident that the squad will share the runs this term.
“There is nobody in the league capable of doing what Vishal has done so there is no pressure on one individual to try and replicate his success,” he said.
“We just want everyone to step up that bit extra. We’ll share the burden of losing him. We’re in a decent position to do that with the players we’ve brought in.”
Burnley’s opener against Bacup was washed out alongside the rest of the league’s fixtures and so they move on to Sunday where they take on newcomers Clitheroe at Chatburn Road.
“I don’t really know much about them but they’re a strong side and we’re expecting them to be up there at the end of the season,” said Pickup. It would be nice to get a win and lay a bit of a marker down. That would set us up nicely.
“Preparation has been good, we’ve trained well and the new lads have settled in well. Confidence is high and we’re itching to get going.”
Pickup added: “Matt Roberts and Joey Marshall know a bit about them from playing in the Ribblesdale Cricket League for a number of years. They’ve taken a couple of lads from Nelson too, Sam Halstead and Harrison Phelan, who are decent players. We played them in the quarter-final of the LCB Knockout Trophy a couple of seasons ago as well but we had a lot of players missing and the tie was reduced to a Twenty20 game. We’re still out for a bit of revenge.”
Meanwhile, newly-elected Read skipper Andrew Rushton feels that the departure of champions Clitheroe has left the door wide open in the Ribblesdale Cricket League title chase.
Rushton, who has taken the armband from Kyle O’Connor, has brought in Lowerhouse pair Josh Lavin and Jamie Woodall ahead of the new campaign.
Former West Ender Matt Walker has also moved to Whalley Road as professional while Australian cricketer Harry Carter is the new overseas amateur.
Rushton, who lost team mate Joey Marshall to Burnley in the winter, said: “My ambition is to finish in the top three but Clitheroe’s exit has left the door wide open for anybody to win it. I’d be disappointed if we didn’t achieve that. It’s a new chapter and it will be nice to see a new team win the league.”
Read host Brinscall in the opener tomorrow before travelling to St Anne’s in the National Knockout on Sunday.
Padiham captain Phil Haggarty believes his side will be one of the promotion contenders as they kick-off their campaign at Whalley tomorrow.
The club finished second in Section B last year, but were deducted 12 points following the end of the season, as Salesbury were promoted.
Brannon Varley has departed for pastures new in the south of England, Kurt Robinson – best wicketkeeper in the league for the fourth time – has joined Lancashire League side Clitheroe, and Lowerhouse have also signed Curtis Meehan.
But Haggerty said: “The aim is to keep improving as we have done the previous few seasons and see where it takes us. Even though we have lost three important players, it gives lads who haven’t had a proper opportunity over the last couple of years .”
Padiham have retained professional Brady Barends, and signed overseas amateur Harry Lawson from Williamstown in Melbourne.