Lancaster preparing for life in Palace Shield

Lancaster's Ben Simm.
Lancaster's Ben Simm.
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Lancaster fully expect to be playing their cricket in the Palace Shield Premier Division next season but are looking to the positives.

The Lune Road side finished bottom of the Northern Premier League and look set to be relegated as per the new link-up between the competitions.

It is still to be confirmed with Palace Shield sides having the choice of whether they are promoted or not.

Stalwart Ben Simm says Lancaster are preparing for a new challenge next year however with Garstang likely to move up and Fulwood & Broughton and Vernon Carus also in promotion contention heading into Saturday’s final day.

“We’re expecting to be playing in the Palace Shield next year,” said the long-time captain, who handed the role over to Charlie Swarbrick for the closing weeks of the season.

“It’s not 100 per cent confirmed but that’s the way it’s looking.

“We wanted to stay in the Northern League but we’re looking to the positives rather than moping around.

“We haven’t been good enough this year though.”

Promotion and relegation has been introduced for the first time in the Northern League as per a directive from the England and Wales Cricket Board and Simm is looking on the bright side despite his club’s demotion.

“As a club it might help us a little bit,” he said.

“We don’t have to get a pro which will save us a bit of money.

“You don’t have to get one in the Northern League but in order to compete you have to really.

“We can spend the money on facilities and machinery and we shouldn’t be stretched to the limit like we have been.

“It will give us a bit of relief.

“I’m sure the treasurer will be happy!”

Simm admits Lancaster simply haven’t been competitive enough this season, a final-day victory against St Annes not enough to spare their blushes as Kendal and Barrow both also won on a rain-affected last round of fixtures last Saturday.

“I think winning becomes a habit,” the off-spinner said.

“It’s something we haven’t really had for the last few years and we’ve snatched defeat from the jaws of victory a few times this season.

“We’ve had a lack of depth and player availability has been dreadful this year.

“Our best players haven’t been at their best either.

“It’s probably the worst I’ve bowled in 10 years.

“We’ve just not been able to get over the line in games.

“They brought in promotion and relegation this season to make it more competitive and we haven’t been competitive for 70 per cent of the season,

“We’re dropping down because we deserve to.”