Lancaster skipper targets more consistency in 2016

Lancaster captain Ben Simm.
Lancaster captain Ben Simm.

Lancaster captain Ben Simm knows more consistency is needed if his side are to improve in 2016.

The Lune Road men finished ninth in the Northern Premier League last year with a lean middle part of the campaign ultimately seeing the city side languish in midtable.

Simm said: “It was a bit of a funny year.

“We started well but then we went through a period where we just couldn’t win before finishing alright.

“Just that middle period really cost us.

“It meant we fell out of contention so we’ll be looking for more consistency this season.”

As ever the off-spinner, who is just one short of 500 league wickets entering the new season, wants some silverware to put in the Lune Road trophy cabinet come the end of the summer.

He said: “We always have targets, the main thing being we want to win something.

“It’s been a while and we want to bring some silverware back to the club whether it’s the league, cup or T20.

“It’s going to be tough. The league is open and teams can have two overseas players this year.

“We can’t afford to splash the cash like some but we feel we’ve got enough homegrown talent to do well this year.”

Lancaster will hope their trophy quest will be aided by the arrival of new professional, Abhimanyu Khod, the Indian batsman replacing Pakistani opener Rameez Raja. Simm is excited by what the 24-year-old left-hander will bring to Lune Road as the paid man in 2016.

He said: “He’s really looking forward to getting over.

“He might not be over for the first game but we’re hoping to have him for the second.

“He seems keen and is certainly a stroke player.

“He’s bowled in first class cricket too so is no mug with the ball either.”

Khod will be just one part of a bolstered Lancaster squad with two other Indians joining the ranks.

Lancaster University student Rajat Agarwal will be hoping the wet and cold northern weather won’t negate his leg spin bowling while overseas amateur Purab Joshi, a promising batsman, is set to arrive at the club at the end of May.

Club chairman Brendan Hetherington is also set to make a playing return along with fellow experienced head Lee Marshall.

Lancaster’s two friendlies, at home to Clitheroe last Saturday, and at Garstang on Sunday, were both postponed.

The lack of warm-up cricket has only added to Simm’s eagerness to get going.

He said: “We’re looking forward to it.

“It’ll be better when the football season finishes because we’ve players with commitments there which isn’t ideal.

“But we’re ready to go and it feels like it’s been a long winter.”

The long winter has been dominated by talk over the future of the Northern League with the Lancashire League’s expansion plans in 2017 currently not including Lancaster or Morecambe due to their position at the north of the county.

Simm said: “The LCB (Lancashire Cricket Board) have always said they won’t allow something to go through if it’s detrimental to leagues or clubs.

“We’re in a situation where only half the league is being considered so surely they’ve got to step in.

“In an ideal world the LCB would come up with a county-wide framework but I think that’s a few stages away.

“Some clubs in the Lancashire League are seemingly happy to stay in their own little bubble but I don’t see why we can’t have a pyramid structure which is regionalised like we have in rugby.

“It’s not nice being on the outside of any negotiations.

“We fully expect the LCB to step in because our league is being ripped apart.”

Lancaster were due to start their season at Preston on Saturday but the Northern League has postponed the opening round of fixtures due to the recent wet weather.

Simm’s side will now begin the campaign at home to Netherfield on April 23.