Captain Simm encouraged by Lancaster’s start to season

Ben Simm. Picture: Tony North.
Ben Simm. Picture: Tony North.
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Lancaster Cricket Club’s strong start to the season has encouraged skipper Ben Simm.

The Lune Road outfit have won three of their opening four games in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division, with the latest being an eight-wicket victory over Vernon Carus.

They have a busy weekend ahead, with a trip down the M6 to Standish in the league.

Then on Sunday afternoon they host Carnforth in the Lancashire Cup.

Simm played his part in the win at Vernon Carus, taking 5-63 in the Factory Lane clash as the hosts posted 164-9 after batting first.

That was a target which Lancaster chased down in 40 overs for the loss of only two wickets.

Charlie Swarbrick hit a fine 93, that knock including five sixes and 10 fours.

Opener Steve Fisher was unbeaten on 39, playing a good support role to Swarbrick’s big hitting.

Simm said: “It was a good victory for us, Vernon Carus are a strong side who have done well in this division for a number of years.

“To go there and win by eight wickets was pleasing and there were some very good performances.

“We bowled well and it was nice for myself to get the five wickets.

“Charlie Swarbrick then batted superbly, some of his hitting was so clean.

“One of his sixes over the trees was such a clean, strong hit, and he really made his mark on the game.

“That is three wins out of the first four games, with the other at Croston rained off. That is how we wanted to start because we didn’t have the best of starts last season and we paid for that.”

This is Lancaster’s second campaign in the Palace Shield after their relegation from the Northern League at the end of the 2017 season.

The aim is to regain their place in the Northern League.

Simm said: “We want to get back there, the Northern League is classed as the higher league with a better standard.

“The Palace Shield is very strong though, Vernon Carus are a good side as I mentioned, Croston are strong, while Morecambe and Preston are in there after coming down from the Northern League.

“Preston have started well and it is nice to see back on their feet after the struggles of recent seasons.

“When you look at all the sides in the Palace Shield, you realise it is not going to be a walk in the park.”

Saturday’s hosts Standish are new to the top division of the Palace Shield, with them having won one of their four games to date.

After that trip, Lancaster turn their focus to the cup.

Simm said: “Standish are new to the division so it is a bit of step into the unknown.

“The Carnforth game on Sunday is a big one, a chance to try and make progress in the Lancashire Cup.

“It’s nice to be in that and the winners go through to play Northern from the Liverpool Competition.

“That is a strong league where you get a lot of players from Lancashire turning up at weekend.

“Carnforth is a derby game and they are a strong side.

“Last season they won the Westmorland League.

“The Lancashire Cup is a good competition and there are lots of strong teams in it.”