St Annes Cricket Club captain Matthew Grindley has backed overseas professional Shadley van Schalkwyk to start performing with the bat.
The left-handed all-rounder has only made 10 runs in St Annes’ opening three games.
The Vernon Road club lost their opening two Northern League games and picked up their first points in last weekend’s home draw with Barrow.
The right-arm medium-fast South African picked up three wickets for 59 runs in that losing draw.
And after upping his game with the ball, Grindley backed van Schalkwyk to shine as the season progresses. He said: “Shadley is doing all right.
“He has settled in and has become part of the club. He is just starting to get used to things and we are hoping he will get into a rhythm after a run of games. He has contributed with the ball and we know he is more than capable with the bat.”
The new captain is eyeing a win at Darwen tomorrow to lift his side off the foot of the first division.
The third-bottom Birch Hall club are also without a win but are 16 points better off than St Annes.
But Grindley feels it is a good time to play them. He added: “We have not had ideal results but we knew it was going to be a difficult start.
“We have a lot of new players but there have been a lot of positives. Darwen have not had a brilliant start, so it is probably a good time to be playing them.
“We all know the win will come sooner rather than later.
“Darwen have had lots of changes but they have a strong side and we know what we have got to do. We are not panicking and it is early doors.”
After replacing longstanding skipper Andy Kellett, Grindley is enjoying his new role. He said: “It has been a new experience. I have a bit more to think about on a Saturday now but I am enjoying the extra responsibility.”
At the top end of the table,Blackpool and Fleetwood head into Cumbria in their bid to keep within sight of early pace-setters Leyland. Blackpool visit second-bottom Penrith, while Fleetwood meet the Kendal side who held Blackpool at Stanley Park last weekend.
Northern Premier League fixtures: Barrow v Lancaster, Chorley v Preston, Darwen v St Annes, Kendal v Fleetwood, Morecambe v Netherfield, Penrith v Blackpool (second XIs in reverse)
Moore & Smalley SE+Palace Shield premier division: Fylde v Torrisholme, Garstang v Great Eccleston, Longridge v Freckleton, Thornton Clevelys v Fulwood and Broughton, Vernon Carus v Penwortham, Whittingham & Goosnargh v Croston.
Lytham seek their first Liverpool Competition ECB premier league win at home to fourth-placed Ormskirk.
Megan Fairclough will skipper a Lancashire women’s team that takes on Essex at St Annes on Sunday (11am).
The Red Rose line-up will also include England player Kate Cross. Admission is free.
Lancashire: Fairclough (captain) Cross, Threlkeld (wicketkeeper) Lamb, Pai, Holmes, Patel, Doshi, Brown, Couser, Ecclestone, Smith.