New Clitheroe captain Jack Dewhurst believes that his predecessor still has a key role to play in the Lancashire League this season.
Paul Gaskell, the most decorated skipper in the club’s history, called time on his term as leader having guided the Chatburn Road side to a domestic double in their first season at this level.
After being crowned Ribblesdale Cricket League champions four seasons in succession, adding the Ramsbottom Cup crown in 2016, Clitheroe would go on to usurp Ramsbottom as kings of their new castle while adding the Twenty20 trophy.
Dewhurst, who represented Lancashire as a teenager, is looking forward to his new challenge but will be utilising the expertise and experience of his former team mate.
“It should be a good season,” said Dewhurst, who tabled 643 runs in the last campaign, carrying a high score of 91.
“We’ve got a decent young side and I’m looking forward to it.
“I feel fine. I’ve got some fairly big shoes to fill with what Paul has done over the last six years.
“Everyone is behind me so it should be fun.
“Paul will still be involved; he’ll still be around on matchdays because he’s been such a big part of what we’ve achieved so it would be wrong not to take advice from him.
“He will be like a manager to us.
“We want more of the same.
“We were knocked out in the first round of the Worsley Cup last season so we would like to improve on that.
“With regards the league and the Twenty20, we’d like to replicate our success in those competitions.
“We’re hopeful of landing some silverware again.”
The 24-year-old has been able to keep his squad in tact over the winter break, with paid man Fawad Alam returning for another spell while youngsters such as Sam Mulligan and Harry Lang are expected to play a key role.
“Our pro showed what he could do in the second part of last season,” he said.
“We’re hoping that he can continue where he left off because he was tremendous. That continuation should help.”
That suggests that Clitheroe could prove even more potent this term, though Dewhurst insists that the introduction of Crompton, Littleborough, Rochdale, Middleton, Walsden, Norden and Milnrow will deflect some of the attention off them.
Ahead of Saturday’s Ron Singleton Trophy clash with Darwen at Birch Hall and Sunday’s opener against Haslingden at Bentgate, he said: “Last year we didn’t really know what to expect.
“We lost games that we probably should have won and we won games that people weren’t expecting us to.
“Darwen were also a really strong outfit, though, so it’s not just us.
“We are no longer the newcomers of the Lancashire League.
“These Greater Manchester clubs are coming in to it and will be very strong.
“They are the ones to watch out for which deflects some of the pressure off us.”