Morecambe Cricket Club captain Josh Dixon is under no illusions how difficult it will be for his side to retain the Northern Premier League title.
The Woodhill Lane outfit sprung something of a shock last year as they lifted their first championship since 2006 and the top-order batsman knows repeating the feat will be no easy task.
Dixon, whose side host Kendal on the opening day on Saturday, said: “Last year’s title win was beyond even our wildest dreams.
“We were just looking at the top four or top six.
“Now we know everyone will be out to get the champions.
“We want to win it again but more than anything we want to give an honest defence of our title. It’s going to be tough.”
Dixon has managed to keep his title-winning side together, with star bowling pair Eddy Read and Sri Lankan overseas player Suraj Randiv all set for their second seasons at Woodhill Lane.
The squad has been bolstered by new arrivals, including batsmen Laurence Reed, Eddy’s brother from Settle, and Lancaster University student Viraj Bhatia, who impressed for Tarleton in the Southport and District League last season.
Promising spinner Jake Smith also returns to the club after a couple of years away from the game.
Dixon said: “We’re ready and raring to go.
“I must have had 100s of messages from the guys saying they can’t wait to get going.
“Everyone just wants to carry on the momentum from last year.
“With a few new additions we should be able to build on last year with the top four a realistic target.
“Hopefully we can bring through a few young lads too.”
Morecambe’s two warm up games against Colne and Nelson were both called off last weekend due to the wet weather.