SKIPPER Mark Bolton has vowed not to get carried away as he leads East Lancashire into their 150th anniversary season and admits his much changed side is still a work in progress.
The 41-year-old all-rounder is back in the captaincy chair at Alexandra Meadows after two years and there are high hopes for glory in what is a landmark season.
Things started well for Bolton and company on Sunday when they beat Nelson on the last ball of a thriller at Seedhill but the former Clitheroe star knows there are many big battles to come.
“You look around the league and there are some really good sides,” he said.
“You look at Accrington, Lowerhouse, Church, Burnley, Haslingden – there is quality in all of those teams and they are going to be hard to beat.
“If anything I think we might be a little light in the bowling department and I could do with one of the amateurs really stepping up to the mark.
“It was a great start and there is probably no better way to start the season than with a last-ball thriller in a brilliant match.
“But it is a competitive league this time and we will see where we the season takes us.”
Bolton’s ranks have been strengthened this season with the return to the club of batsman Chris Riley after a run-laden career in the Liverpool Competition and the signing of ex-Edenfield paceman Shahrukh Khan.
Star amateur batsman and sporting all-rounder John Turner is also back playing after the best part of a year out and with youngsters coming through, Bolton is in a good position.
“Chris Riley is a top batsman and the return of John Turner is like having a new player.
“New pro Matt Kleinveldt batted superbly on a difficult track at Nelson and if he can carry that on when the wickets get better he will score some big runs.
“But the big thing for us is the kids coming through the ranks and getting close to the first team.
“These are the young lads who have come through from the under 11s and a lot of work has been put in to develop the talent.
“Some of them are not quite ready while others are knocking on the door and that has made the seconds very strong.
“In my previous five years as skipper I probably had seven players and needed to bring others in.
“This time I have a very strong 16 or 17 players to pick from, they are all capable of playing Lancashire League cricket and that is a good position for a captain to be in and hopefully we can kick on from Sunday.”