Padiham’s double raid on former Lancashire League champions Clitheroe has given skipper Kevin Hitchon the belief that the club can challenge for the title.
The Arbories outfit, who preserved their status in the Ribblesdale League’s top flight last term, swooped for Chatburn Road pair Jack Dewhurst and Kurt Robinson, signing the former on professional terms for two years.
Following confirmation that South African paid man Siviwe Gidana wouldn’t be returning for the 2019 campaign - after taking 44 wickets and adding a league best 8-13 - Padiham were quick to act.
Dewhurst, the third highest run scorer last season with 801, only just behind Walsden’s Josh Gale ((817) and Rishton professional Mansoor Amjad (803), was the first addition to be announced by the club.
And one-time club captain Robinson, who won the Lancashire League title and the Twenty20 trophy during his stay in the Ribble Valley, was revealed soon after.
“Jack is a very good signing for us, he’s shown his quality in both the Ribblesdale League and Lancashire League, his statistics are top class, he’s exactly what we needed,” said Hitchon.
“He’s got the statistics to back his reputation up with both bat and ball.
“He got plenty of runs and wickets for Clitheroe so he’ll be a quality professional for us. He was our first choice so we’re very happy to get him.
“This season we achieved our aim of staying up. The ultimate goal now is to try and win the league over the next couple of years. We’ve strengthened all round now so we’ll be looking to challenge at the top end.
“Jack has that experience of winning at this level and knows what it takes.
“I’d say that this is as strong as the group has been in a while. Kurt (Robinson) is a big signing for us as well and he will be the best keeper in the league.”
Padiham have also added Australian all-rounder Rhys Marshall as their overseas amateur.