St Annes CC look to lift the Northern League title this year

St Annes' Nathan Armstrong
St Annes' Nathan Armstrong

St Annes have just one aim for the upcoming season and that’s to claim the Northern Premier Cricket League Division One title.

The Vernon Road club will be looking for an improvement on last year’s display, which saw them finish in third place – the title being clamed by rivals Blackpool.

They start their campaign at Penrith on Saturday, with the game starting at 1pm.

“Preparation has gone really well,” said club captain Nathan Armstrong.

“We’ve had a good amount of friendlies, four in total, and everyone is here and ready for the start of the season.

“People that needed some time in the middle got some time in the middle and people that needed overs got overs under their belt, so the friendlies have been brilliant.

“We’ve got a couple of injuries but we’ve got a large squad this season that we’re hoping to use. We’re looking strong and I’m confident.

“Most of the team is the same set of lads from last season, we’ve been building this group over the last couple of years and everyone is now a year older and have a year’s more experience.

“I’m really happy with how it’s going. We’ve had an overseas player (Tim Smithies) arrive late in the day; he came last week and he looked great in the friendly and got some runs.

“He’s an opening batsman which was a space we needed to fill for most of the off-season, so he fits in really well and he seems like a really good lad.

“He knows his cricket, he knows his game so hopefully he’ll score some runs for us this season.

“The aim is to always win the league, I think it has to be. We have a really good squad and we’re not down to the bare bones, we have 14, 15 and 16 players which can only help reach that end goal.

“We know there are some really strong teams out there and they’ve improved as well, so the first few weeks are always good to get a gauge of where everyone is at.

“Blackpool are always strong, they’re a good team and they’ve added some great additions so it will be a difficult ask.

“But it’s one we’ve got to take in our stride and take each games as it comes, so our only focus right now is Saturday at Penrith.

“That’s where we’ll start and we’ll go from there but the overall aim is to make a push for the title.”