Longridge CC hope to have a fast start this season
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They play their first NPCL game since 2019 with a trip to Fleetwood this weekend.
The season begins only two-and-a-half weeks after clubs were allowed to start training on the latest step out of lockdown.
That shortened preparation has come as a shock to the system for players young and old at Newsham.
“It’s been hard, really tough,” Simpson said.
“You don’t realise how much you need a pre-season, just in terms of getting miles in your legs because we’re trying to cram 12 weeks into two.
“The younger lads have been struggling as well, particularly when you think about how unnatural bowling is on the body!
“It’s going to be interesting to see where other clubs are at because we’ve all had the same restrictions put in place on what we can and can’t do.”
Two years ago, Longridge were gearing up for their debut NPCL season after winning promotion from the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield.
That first year saw them finish in sixth position, something they had hoped to improve upon before the 2020 season was shortened as a result of the pandemic.
This time around, the sights have been lowered a little given the departure of Josh Holden, who has joined Lytham, the absence of a planned overseas amateur and Longridge’s decision to avoid using a professional.
Simpson said: “The key for us is we have to hit the ground running this year or we’re going to be chasing other teams.
“We want to try and win as many games as we can, as early as we can, but I do think it will be a tough one this year.
“I think the key at Fleetwood will be to win the toss, bat first, put a score on and defend it.
“I got a hat-trick there two years ago, so I quite like playing there, but it is a tough ground.
“When we played them last time, they had two spinners who were really hard to get away and it’s a massive ground – but we’re looking forward to playing again.”
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