UPBEAT Lancashire skipper Jasmine Titmuss can’t wait to lead the Red Rose women onto the field on Sunday as they begin their quest for promotion into the top flight of the Women’s County Championship – and is hoping a change in format will benefit her troops.

All-rounder Titmuss, 25, led the Red Rose to the brink last year as they won all eight of their Championship games only to slip to their only defeat of the season in the promotion play-off game with Somerset.

But for the new season the play-offs have been scrapped with the top team going up automatically and Titmuss said: “That may work in our favour.

“We played so well last year in the Championship campaign and the defeat to Somerset was pretty devastating for us.

“But we have learned from that and we are ready to go once again and hopefully this year we can clinch that promotion into Division One.”

The Lancashire squad is boosted by the availability of England star and Women’s Ashes winner Kate Cross for the double header against Ireland at Liverpool on Sunday and at Somerset on Bank Holiday Monday.

“I’m really excited about it,” added Titmuss. “And that goes for everyone in the team.

“It’s great to have Crossy available too. Obviously she brings so much to the team, not only with her bowling but also attitude.

“We have quite a lot of girls in the England age group set-ups and for them they can see at first hand just how far they can go in the game. Kate is a real role model to them.”

Burnley wicketkeeper Hannah Till keeps wicket to the pace of Cross and is tipped as a star of the future, while Hoghton’s Emma Lamb, who is making a name for herself within the England set-up and with Leyland and Vernon and Carus, is also another star performer.

Lamb and Nalisha Patel and Bhumika Doshi spent the winter in the England Womens Development Programme at U19 level, while Georgia Holmes was in Sri Lanka with the England Academy.

Sunday’s game with Ireland at Liverpool starts at 11am and there should be a good atmosphere.

“It’s the second day of a beer festival at Aigburth,” laughed Titmuss. “So I’m sure there will be a bit of noise and plenty of people around. It’s nice to have a crowd and we can’t wait.”

Straight after that game the squad heads down to Somerset for Monday’s match.

* Squad: Jasmine Titmuss, Natalie Brown, Kate Cross, Meg Fairclough, Emma Lamb, Nalisha Patel, Bhumika Doshi, Hannah Jones, Jess Couser, Ellie Threlkeld, Laura Marshall, Georgia Holmes, Hannah Till