Progress the plan for new Morecambe captain

New Morecambe captain Ryan Pearson believes his side can go well in Twenty20 competition.
New Morecambe captain Ryan Pearson believes his side can go well in Twenty20 competition.

New Morecambe captain Ryan Pearson is looking for progress in his first summer at the helm.

The batsman replaced Josh Dixon, who has since left the club, just a few weeks before the new campaign having been Woodhill Lane vice-captain in the title-winning season of 2015.

He inherits a side that finished next to bottom of the Northern Premier League last summer however and knows it might be baby steps when it comes to turning things around.

Any success may come in the shorter format, Morecambe having lost out to Fleetwood in the Twenty20 final last year.

“I’m looking at the top half but first and foremost we’ve got to improve on last season,” said Pearson, whose side host Barrow on this Saturday’s opening day.

“We’ve got the talent in the side but we’ve just got to show what we can do week in, week out, like we did in 2015.

“Hopefully we can back up our Twenty20 success after coming second last year too.

“A trophy would be great and that’s the one we’ve spoken about.”

The former Heysham man admits getting the top job came as a surprise after Dixon stepped down.

Opening bowler Eddy Read is set to act as vice-captain.

“It was a bit unexpected but I’m pleased to have it,” said Pearson.

“With only having it for a few weeks I’ve not really had time to get into it and get my ideas across.

“That will come and I’ve got trust in the side we’ve got.

“It’s good to have Eddy alongside me.”

One key man for Pearson is likely to be Sri Lankan professional Ashan Priyanjan.

The batting all-rounder has played 23 one day internationals for his country and also captained Sri Lanka’s A team on a tour of England last summer.

He comes highly recommended by Suraj Randiv, whose off-spin inspired Morecambe to their 2015 title win.

The popular Randiv was due to return last year but international commitments got in the way, several pros plying their trade at Woodhill Lane during a difficult campaign.

“Suraj says he’s a better player than him and if he does half as well as Suraj did we’ll have done well,” said Pearson.

“He’s a batsman who bowls off spin and I’m sure he’ll have a field day with the bat at Woodhill Lane.

“We had the problem last year that we only properly sorted the pro halfway through the season (Saeed Anwar Jnr) and by then they can’t have as much as an impact.

“Having a pro around the club makes a big difference too.”

Steering clear of the bottom of the table is more vital than ever.

Last season’s performance would have seen Morecambe under threat of demotion as per the new link-up with the Palace Shield.

Pearson is looking forward to the higher stakes but believes clubs coming up shouldn’t be allowed to choose if they make the move, one of the regulations put in place when the leagues did the deal over the winter.

“All together it’s a positive but I’m not sure about how it’s been done,” he said.

“It’s only a choice to come up when the Palace Shield clubs should really have to if they get promoted. But I guess it’s just the first step on a longer term plan.

“It does give everyone something to play for. There was only about 30 points between us and ninth last season so everyone’s involved and has to carry on playing.”

South African Devon Conway will deputise for Priyanjan for the first couple of games as the new professional gets married.