Director of Cricket, Andy Dalby shares his thoughts on last season and his hopes for 2019.
What were your thoughts on the 2018 season?
I unfortunately didn’t get down to the games as much as I would have liked in 2018 due to work commitments however, I thought it was a great season in terms of securing ‘top division’ cricket for both teams.
In hosting the T/20 finals day (at the second attempt) in tough conditions was an also a credit to the club.
But the standout highlight for me, would have to be third XI (under the guidance of Lee Kenyon) consistently beating some experienced teams and developing our talented group of youth players at the club.
They only lost out on the third XI title at the final hurdle.
So all in all - a very pleasing season.
Having only lost three league games, you must have been pleased with a third place Finish?
Walsden deservedly won the league title. Once they got on a roll it was hard to pin them back.
The only disappointing result for me was the Crompton game whereby we didn’t really compete. I know the boys were disappointed with their performance that day.
Moving on from the 2018 season, which areas do you think the team can improve?
Myself and Tom (Parton) highlighted the fact that we struggled with variation and strength in depth in the seam department in 2018.
Matt Burdaky did immensely well in his debut season. However, it was imperative that after signing a spinning pro - we had to add a seamer to our ranks.
Jack Wynn is a young lad who has had a year’s experience in the Lancashire League with Milnrow and seemed an obvious choice, he’s already fitted in well with the lads.
In terms of Professional’s. There has been a number of decent returns in the last ten seasons, what have been your highlights?
It is well documented that Daryn (Smit) has done exceptionally well in his time at the club. Daz and his family are almost part of the furniture now. His game was and still is unbelievably consistent. To average what he did over three seasons with both bat and ball is incredible.
Signing Faf (Du Plessis) was also a great memory for me - interrupting him playing ten pin bowling with AB De Villiers whist me and Jon (Fielding) were in the changing rooms trying to negotiate a deal will always be a comedy moment.
In 2019, we have signed George Linde. What can he bring to the team?
George is a winner in every sense, he has extensive experience of northern league cricket (Darwen know him well), which was a real positive for me when I put him forward to the Cricket Committee. Having experienced conditions over in England before and especially the damper conditions that he may experience (fingers crossed it will be as hot as 2018) will hopefully make it easier for him to adapt. From looking at his stats, George will certainly look to entertain the Rammy faithful. I’m not sure he is the type of player to leave too many balls, especially in the T20 competition.
Amateur wise, who are you looking forward to seeing play and progress in 2019?
The standout choices are JJ Fielding and Rehan Udwadia. Both are immensely talented lads -We forget that JJ is only sixteen years old. I’m sure he has a great future in the game having already secured a spot in the LCCC Academy.
Teams to beat?
Lowerhouse are the standout team. They have every base covered with an exceptionally good professional in Ockie - he knows this league better than most. This is complimented by a wealth of home-grown talent such as the Martin brothers, both of which feature heavily in every game with consistent contributions week in, week out.
It will be interesting to see how Walsden go about their defence of the title, especially now teams have seen them play in 2018.
Let’s hope for a competitive season from all.
Finally, your thoughts on the league format?
The Lancs League needed this divisional split for some years, there is a real buzz and anticipation for the 2019 season. For those in lower Division, all the teams will fancy their chances of promotion.
For those teams in the top tier, there will be a sense of looking over your shoulder as there is no easy games and no team will want to be relegated at the first hurdle. By implementing the split, the league Execs have re-affirmed the Lancashire League as one of the best leagues in the country.
Cricket Committee Chairman