With the football season entering its conclusion, it’s almost time to take the covers off for the 2019 cricket campaign.
Up and down the country, dirty whites from last summer will be hurled in the wash, new equipment bought and boundary boards painted.
Local cricket is huge in the UK and Penwortham Cricket Club is preparing to move outdoors for training sessions as of next week.
The Palace Shield, the competition in which their four teams play, kicks off on April 20.
Club secretary Andy Bailey has highlighted the importance of the hard work put in by all over the winter.
He said: “Winter is a long time so it’s good to blow the cobwebs off and get your eye in again ahead of the new season.
“There’s a few faults with the bounce but batting, bowling, watching the ball and getting your feet moving again, that helps me and I’m sure it helps everyone.
“We’re always trying to move the club on, we’ve had the clubhouse refurbished a few years ago and we want to become a better cricket club.
“We’re constantly looking at other potential investments which could mean a new scorebox. We’ve had the drainage sorted out.
“So we’re never standing still and are always thinking ahead to how we can make the club the best it can be for the next generation.”
Penwortham First XI compete in the Premier Division of the Shield – captain Ashley Billington is targeting a more impressive campaign this time round.
He said: “We don’t want to be in another relegation dogfight like last year and we need more consistency too, I think we went through 39 players last year, which is pretty unheard of.
“So we’re hoping to improve the consistency and then in-turn that should lead to better results for us.
“We have two irons in the fire, but one thing we have here at Penwortham is some excellent junior players so I’d love to take the opportunity to blood them which makes for exciting times.”
Billington is a well-known face around the club, nicknamed ‘The Greek’ and admitted the excitement never fades away year on year. His side face Croston at home in the season curtain-raiser.
“We’re all looking forward to getting started,” he said. “For the majority cricket is our number one hobby.
“I’ve been here since I was an eight-year-old and I’ve captained every team now apart from the T20 team, I love it.”