Morecambe captain Ryan Pearson is relishing leading his new-look side when the summer of cricket gets under way this weekend.
The Woodhill Lane club have welcomed a host of a new faces including Zimbabwe international bowler Luke Jongwe and Lancaster batsman Jamie Heywood.
Pearson’s men open their Northern League campaign at Leyland on Saturday before travelling to Furness in the National Knockout on Sunday.
“I think we’ve had to be busy,” said the skipper, who took the captaincy just weeks before the start of the 2017 season.
“The first team squad has eight or nine new faces in it.
“It covers what we’ve lost in the last couple of years and what we needed looking at last season.
“We had too many young kids playing in the first XI and they didn’t have the chance to develop and earn their place. They were playing because they had to.
“I’ve had my first full winter trying to sign players and I can’t wait to get going.”
New professional Jongwe has taken 25 wickets in 22 one-day internationals, his last coming in 2016 against Afghanistan.
The 23-year-old, who has a first-class hundred to his name with the bat, has also played eight T20 internationals for his country.
“We’re looking forward to getting him,” said Pearson.
“He had a season down south with Bovey Tracey so he’s got a year’s experience which we haven’t had in a pro for about four or five years.
“He knows what he’s expecting. He’s keen to get back in the international set-up and he’s only 23.
“I think we’ve done quite well to get him.”
He is joined by a cast of new recruits including Heywood and wicketkeeper Reuben Orr, who has also joined from Lancaster.
Elsewhere two of the title-winning Westgate team have arrived at Woodhill Lane with batsman Alex Briggs and the Westmorland League’s top bowler over the last two seasons Zac Buchanan making the move.
Early in the off-season, Morecambe also confirmed the arrival of former Lytham captain and leg spinner Danny Edwards.
“We’ve got to do better than last season,” Pearson said.
“I’ve told the lads I want six to top four.
“I don’t expect us to go out and win the league straight away, that gap is too big to bridge in one.
“The top four’s achievable because in the second half of last season we were a top five team, it was the start that was our problem.
“I want improve in the cups as well which means reaching finals day in the T20 and getting to the final for the Readers Cup.
“We’ve got to take one step at a time though.
“It’s still a relatively young team but there’s more experience and knowledge around and the Westgate lads know how to win.
“Bringing that attitude into the team will be good.”
Elsewhere Garstang begin life in the Northern League when they host fellow newcomers Fulwood & Broughton.
In the Palace Shield, Lancaster get under way in the second tier after relegation with a derby against Torrisholme at Boundary Meadow.
The hosts have lost skipper of a decade Matt Jackson to Northern League champions Netherfield while for the Lune Road men, long-standing Ben Simm has stepped aside with Luke Phillips leading the side.