The Lancashire League guide to the season

Accrington are the reigning champions

Accrington are the reigning champions

First published in Sport
Last updated

A look at the runners and riders in the Foster's Lancashire League...

Accrington

Ground: Thorneyholme Road

Captain: Stuart Crabtree

Professional: Ockert Erasmus (South Africa)

Ins: Ramiz Hussain

Outs: Aijaz Shah

Last year: Champions

One to watch: Simon Hanson

Last year’s champions were quite brilliant throughout 2013 and are excited about the new campaign. Record breaking professional Ashar Zaidi has been replaced by Ockert Erasmus, who is a proven fine performer at East Lancashire, and they can once again be in the mix. Accrington were written off by many at the start of last year - it would be unwise to discount them completely this time around.

Donlan predicts: 7th

Bacup

Ground: Lanehead

Captain: Matt Thompson

Professional: Haseeb Azam (Pakistan)

Ins: None

Outs: Jack McGregor, Jo Sipocz, Joe McCluskie

Last year: 13th

One to watch: Tim Farragher

The loss of all-rounder Joe McCluskie, fast bowler Jo Sipocz and wicketkeeper Jack McGregor is a huge blow to Bacup’s hopes and new skipper Matt Thompson will lead a young side at Lanehead. They were second from bottom last season and are likely to struggle this time around with much depending on how new professiona Haseeb Azam settles into league cricket.

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Donlan predicts: 14th

Burnley

Ground: Turf Moor

Captain: Bharat Tripathi

Professional: Chris Holt (England)

Ins: Jonathan Clare, Bradley Ramshead, Jhangir Liaqat, Oliver Norwood

Outs: Nas Iqbal, Qasim Ali, Steven Whittaker

Last year: 3rd, Worsley Cup winners

One to watch: Chris Burton

Burnley won the Worsley Cup last year and there is no reason why they cannot be right in the shake-up. Qasim Ali’s runs are a loss but with Derbyshire star Jonathan Clare playing when county duties allow and David Brown also available Burnley will go close, especially if new pro Chris Holt can get into the groove with bat and ball. Huddersfield football Oliver Norwood has also signed on at the Turf.

Donlan predicts: 1st

Church

Ground: West End

Captain: Craig Fergusson

Professional: Usman Tariq (Pakistan)

Ins: Bilal Abbas, Aqeel Shah, Kamran Basharat, Ryan Wood

Outs: None

Last year: 5th

One to watch: Lloyd Aspin

Surely this must be the year Church can finally put some silverware in the West End trophy cabinet after going so close in recent times. Craig Fergusson leads a strong side who are always a major threat in the cups and they are a good bet for the Worsley Cup, although whether they can last the full course in the league remains to be seen. A top five spot is most likely though.

Donlan predicts: 5th

Colne

Ground: The Horsfield

Captain: Matt Walker

Professional: Ali Azmat (Pakistan)

Ins: Andy Hakin, Adil Ali, Tom Bradshaw

Outs: Bradley Ramshead, Reece Whitehead

Last year: 14th

One to watch: Andy Hakin

Colne’s off-field problems have been well documented but Matt Walker leads a side with renewed hope in 2014. Three new amateurs are all big news for the Horsfielders and former Earby professional Ali Azmat will have no worries scoring big runs in the Lancashire League. The league is rallying round Colne - and the players will do their bit to propel the side up the table this time.

Donlan predicts: 12th

East Lancashire

Ground: Alexandra Meadows

Captain: Mark Bolton

Professional: Matthew Kleinveldt (South Africa)

Ins: Chris Riley, Shahrukh Khan

Outs: None

Last year: 9th

One to watch: Chris Riley

East Lancashire want a big season for their 150th year and with Mark Bolton taking over as skipper once again they will not settle for second best. New pro Matthew Kleinveldt is interesting and the return to the club of Chris Riley will bolster a side whose youngsters are capable of stepping up to the mark. If they can keep a settled side then Alexandra Meadows could be a good place to be.

Donlan predicts: 6th

Enfield

Ground: Dill Hall Lane

Captain: Adam Bracewell

Professional: Werner Coetsee (South Africa)

Ins: Ben Dowling, Liam Bedford, Chris Bowness

Outs: None

Last year: 8th

One to watch: Liam Bedford

Enfield tailed off last year but the return of Werner Coetsee is a massive boost for the men from Dill Hall Lane. Ben Dowling has joined from Great Harwood and his pace will unsettle batsmen while Liam Bedford is also an astute signing. Runs will not be a problem for wicketkeeper Bedford who has shone for Barnoldswick in recent years. They will be hard to beat.

Donlan predicts: 8th

Haslingden

Ground: Bent Gate

Captain: Phill Hayes

Professional: Brenton Parchment (West Indies)

Ins: Tom Richards, Jo Sipocz, Anthony Harris, Anthony Harris

Outs: Josh Walker

Last year: 6th

One to watch: Phill Hayes

Phill Hayes has taken over from run machine Graham Knowles as skipper and if he can get back to his brilliant best with the bat and Knowles carries on scoring then runs will flow. Brilliant Jamaican Brenton Parchment is back and will win half a dozen games himself and the bowling attack is boosted by Jo Sipocz. If Haslingden can hit the ground running they will be hard to stop.

Donlan predicts: 3rd

Lowerhouse

Ground: The Neville Gee Recruitment Ground

Captain: Charlie Cottam

Professional: Cobus Pienaar (South Africa)

Ins: None Outs: Joe Beneduce

Last year: 2nd, T20 champions

One to watch: Jonny Whitehead

Lowerhouse wanted a third straight title last year but had to settle for second place and the T20 Cup. They will start the season as they mean to go on and their talent-packed young team will never roll over as they bid to claim the championship back. Cobus Pienaar performed well in the Northern League and he can give them the extra advantage they need.

Donlan predicts: 2nd

Nelson

Ground: Seedhill

Captain: Neil Thompson

Professional: Ryan Canning (South Africa)

Ins: Sam Halstead, Nick Burton

Outs: Max Howells, Sean Lemon, David Crotty, Jhangir Liaqat, Adil Ali, Tom Bradshaw, Chris Willan, Garry Grimshaw, James Lickess

Last year: 7th

One to watch: Tyler McGladdery Neil Thompson must dread the winter months as just when he starts to develop a team capable of making a push he loses a clutch of key men. This winter has been the same as the last for the classy all-rounder as he has lost some big performers. But Sam Halstead is back at his old club and Thompson will lead from the front with Tyler McGladdery and Harrison Phelan likely to have landmark campaigns.

Donlan predicts: 11th

Ramsbottom

Ground: Acre Bottom

Captain: Rob Read

Professional: Daryn Smit (South Africa)

Ins: Jack McGregor, Leigh Dickinson

Outs: Mark Dentith, Dom Gowers, Harry Dearden, Steve Dearden, Andy Hakin, Sam Halstead, Mark Gowers, Rob Faulkner

Last year: 4th

One to watch: Tom Parton

A new year and a new look Ramsbottom with Rob Read taking over as skipper from Jon Fielding and a very impressive professional in the shape of Dolphins’ ace Daryn Smit. Harry Dearden is a big loss as he moves with his dad Steve to Woodbank but Tom Parton really can step up to the mark with the bat after his wonderful 2013. Despite the changes Rammy could challenge again.

Donlan predicts: 4th

Rawtenstall

Ground: The Worswick Memorial Ground

Captain: Vinny Hanson

Professional: Brett Pelser (South Africa)

Ins: None

Outs: None

Last year: 11th

One to watch: Sam Kershaw

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it - Rawtenstall were shaping up well last season and are certain to continue their improvement. Brett Pelser’s return is huge for everyone at the club and he will continue the development of the youngsters. A league push is probably beyond them but the Worsley Cup is a serious aim and Keith Roscoe will carry on adding to his record number of wickets.

Donlan predicts: 10th

Rishton

Ground: Blackburn Road

Captain: Shaun Hutchinson

Professional: Matt Hulett (South Africa)

Ins: Irfan Muhammed, Paul Clifford

Outs: Richard Rostron, Scott Greaves

Last year: 12th

One to watch: Ali Sartaj

Dan Salpietro was a major player for Rishton last year and Matt Hulett has big shoes to fill for Rishton but the early signs are good. Shaun Hutchinson could barely name the same side two matches running last year and that cost them dear with youngsters often being forced to carry too much weight on their shoulders. The skipper doesn’t need that this time around.

Donlan predicts: 13th

Todmorden

Ground: Centre Vale

Captain: Andrew Sutcliffe

Professional: Michael Neser (Australia)

Ins: Zeshan Shoukhat

Outs: Bilal Abbas

Last year: 10th

One to watch: Elliot Gilford

Todmorden are determined to improve on last year’s disappointment when their season was wrecked by injury after injuryand they have the ammunition to do just that this time around. Skipper Andrew Sutcliffe is always a big player and the signing of Aussie quick Michael Neser - a genuine aggressive paceman - will be interesting, especially if the sun shines and the wickets are hard.

Donlan predicts: 9th

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