AINSDALE READY FOR THE JOURNEY INTO THE UNKNOWN
Date: 7th April 2017
A Paul Edwards copyright exclusive for L&DCC Official Website.
Fazal and Banwell two key signings
The special attractions of a fresh challenge and a new world will be on offer to those watching their cricket at Ainsdale this spring.
Last September Andy Barlow’s side won the Liverpool Gin Liverpool Competition’s First Division by three points from Southport and Birkdale and on April 22nd Colwyn Bay will arrive as the club’s first visitors in the ECB Premier League.
At which point some of their longest-serving supporters might suggest quietly that everything comes to those who wait. Playing at the Competition’s top level has been Ainsdale’s aim for a good few seasons now and everyone is keen that the achievement of that goal should not be seen as the prelude to any form of anti-climax.
With that aim in mind club officials have recruited Faiz Fazal, a 31-year-old left-handed opening bat and medium-pace bowler who plays for Vidarbha in India, and Kevin Banwell, an English-born wicketkeeper and lower middle-order batsman from Perth.
They hope these signings will do much more than offset the loss of their former wicketkeeper, Tom Prescott, who has moved down to London, and Sam Lucas who will be staying in Nottingham, where he goes to university, for the whole summer.
“It’s going to be difficult but we know that and we’re relishing it,” said Barlow, just after he had completed his first outside net of the season. “We’re confident that we can stay up and maybe push a couple of places or so higher. We have a nice start at home to Colwyn Bay and away to Rainhill before we host Ormskirk and visit New Brighton.”
However, Barlow admits that six indoor net sessions and one in the open have not given him a totally clear idea of his best eleven. To clear up a one or two issues Ainsdale are playing four friendlies before the serious stuff gets under way.
Palace Shield champions Fulwood and Broughton are the visitors on Saturday followed by District League team, New Victoria, on Sunday. Barlow takes his players to St Helens on Easter Saturday and a home game against Highfield completes the warm-up programme on Bank Holiday Monday.
“Veterans like Adam Friar and Darren Tyms are still with us and chomping at the bit to show what they can do but there are a lot of youngsters at the club as well,” said Barlow. “Those friendlies will help us decide on our best team. We have a balanced bowling attack but I think it will be the batting where the main competition for places will be. Malcolm Swift is certainly well up for it. He’s netted and he’s keener than most to get started.”
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