BARNOLDSWICK may be in the blood in the Beech household but it has been a whirlwind few years for 21-year-old captain Jonathan.

The club’s youngest ever skipper follows in the footsteps of dad Paul and his great grandfather to lead the Victory Park club despite being in just his third season of first team cricket.

Birch, who opens the bowling, made his first team debut in 2017 before taking over the captaincy last season in a campaign that ended with relegation from Section A in the Ribblesdale League.

Now he is hoping to mastermind a quick return to the top flight and, at the moment, it is so far, so good as Barlick currently sit top of Section B with four wins and one defeat.

While Beech is learning on the job he is enjoying the role since taking over the captaincy.

“Last season was tricky because we lost a lot of players and had to rebuild as we went along,” he said.

“The first half of the season was a bit of nightmare but will slowly improved as we went along and were unlucky to go down in the end.”

Barlick lost the influential Saddique brothers, Abdul and Amir, last season and, despite a strong finish to the campaign, were relegated on the final day.

But Beech is certain his side can bounce straight back - and said it would be a big honour if he was the main to lead them up.

“I know I am young but I was happy to take on the captaincy. I have been with the club basically all my life and it is a big part of our family so it was a great honour to become captain and it would be great to lead the team back up again.

“We have started the season well and while we are unfortunately out of the Ramsbottom Cup, we could now concentrate on trying to win promotion.”

It’s a busy weekend for Barlick who have back-to-back clashes with Read - in the T20 Cup tonight and the league tomorrow - while they face promotion rivals Earby on Sunday in the first of the league’s rearranged fixtures.

“We will probably make a few changes for games as it is going to be busy,” added Beech. “They will be two tough games against Read, who play in Section A, but Earby is the big game. They are probably one of our biggest rivals for promotion so that is going to be a key match for us.”

The club have retained the services of Chalana De Silva who was the league’s leading wicket taker last season despite Barnoldswick suffering relegation.

The club have also managed to recruit Jack Riestchel as an overseas amateur thanks to Beech’s successful mission to Australia last winter.

The captain went to Oz with instructions from his dad -who is now club chairman - to gain experience and find an overseas amateur, and he managed both.

For Beech, who stayed with former Clitheroe professional Ian Wrigglesworth, helped Boisdale and Briagalong CC win the Sale Maffra Cricket Competition in Victoria while also acquiring the services of Riestchel

“I had a great time in Australia and it was a great experience,” said Beech. “I played against Jack while I was there and asked if he was interested in coming over to play.

“We are delighted he did because he has done a superb job for us.”

* Fixtures

Saturday: Brinscall v Earby, Ossie Immanuel v Feniscowles, Padiham v Cherry Tree, Read v Barnoldswick, Salesbury v Euxton, Settle v Baxenden, Whalley v Ribblesdale Wanderers.

Sunday: Brinscall v Feniscowles, Cherry Tree v Ribblesdale Wanderers, Earby v Barnoldswick, Euxton v Baxenden, Padiham v Read, Salesbury v Ossie Immanuel, Whalley v Settle.