Former Lancashire ace Oliver Newby has returned home to Read Cricket Club.
And the addition of the pace bowler compliments a pool of players that Whalley Road chairman Andrew Turner feels is the best at the club since the glory days at the beginning of the millennium.
Read won the Ribblesdale League in three-successive seasons from 2002 to 2004, adding the Ramsbottom Cup in 2000 and 2003.
However, the club have been unable to land either trophy in the intervening years.
Turner believes this season – the club’s 140th anniversary year – represents as good a chance as any to get back to winning ways.
He said: “We start the celebratory year with as strong a senior first and second team set up as I have seen at Read Cricket Club since the stary of our treble-winning early 2000 championship-winning streak.
“I am looking forward to, and expect big things from all the players this year.
“I can’t wait for the season to begin!”
Newby, now 33, started out at Read, before spending 12 years at Old Trafford, coming through the Lancashire academy to represent the first team.
He made his first-class debut in 2003 before, in 2005, he was loaned to Nottinghamshire for a month in their Championship-winning campaign.
Back at Old Trafford in 2006, Newby enjoyed a profitable season, playing in seven County Championship matches, taking 19 wickets at an average of 27.52.
The following year he featured in a further nine first-class matches, taking 22 wickets at 30.45., earning a new two-eyear contract.
However, in May 2010 he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury, side-lining him for the rest of the season.
All told, he played 53 first-class matches, and claimed 133 wickets at 32.55, before being released two years ago shortly after Ashley Giles was appointed as the new head coach.
Newby also represented the first team at Essex and Gloucestershire.
Turner added: “Our ability to attract a player of Olivers outstanding ability really does show a clear tribute to where we are as a club both on and off the field.
“Exciting times ahead for players, members and especially beneficial for our Read Raiders juniors to have a great home grown role model.”
Read have also engaged an overseas amateur in Bailey Richards for the coming season.
Richards, 18, is a swing bowler from Western Australia, who currently plays grade two cricket with University Cricket Club in the Perth area.
The 2018 Ribblesdale League season opens on Saturday, April 21st, when Read take on Ribblesdale Wanderers at Church Meadow.
Salesbury will entertain Settle at Ribchester Road, while Whalley are at Balshaw Park to face Euxton.
The following Saturday sees the Ramsbottom Cup group stages commence, as Salesbury host Euxton in group one, while Read entertain Earby in group two, with Whalley taking on Ribblesdale in group three.