Radcliffe recorded their first win of the season at Oldham on Saturday and new first team captain Sean Gibson is hopeful his side’s batting can lead to a strong 2014 Central Lancashire League Championship campaign.

With Mark Robinson departing to East Lancashire Paper Mill in the winter, Gibson has made the step up from vice-captain and has welcomed new professional Nadeem Ashraf from Linthwaite CC in Huddersfield, who scored 80 on his debut in a close defeat to Milnrow on the opening day of the season.

He said: “I’m really impressed with Nadeem. He goes about his business really well and is able to mix his shots from elegant and classy to smashing the ball around, as he sets his field.

“With Hazeez batting alongside him we’re looking for a good partnership.”

Batting may be strong but with the departure of Michael Burns to Littlebrough and Matt Smalley following Robinson to East Lancs, club chairman Colin Jones has admitted the bowling attack has lost some of its strength. To address that, Gibson is preparing to bring in young players to fire up his attack.

“Matt got 30 odd wickets, Burnsey got 60, so that’s a huge chunk. “We’ve got lads like Faisal Ali and Dan Farley, the young spinner, who will get time.

“It’s important to get victories, but also to include everyone. I want the young boys to have a good bat and a bowl. It’s not a good reflection on your club, if the same people are bowling a load of overs every week.”