Feniscowles captain Ryan Hurley says the new Anthony Axford North West Cricket League has helped him rekindle a lost spark for the game of cricket.

Hurley, aged 28, is in his first season as captain at the War Memorial Ground and only his second back playing after a quiet period in the batter’s career due to University and then fatherhood.

It has not been the easiest of seasons for ‘Fenny’, them currently sitting third bottom in the Premiership with two wins from 15 matches. But Hurley has really enjoyed playing in the newly-created league with teams from Ribblesdale and Bolton.

“The love for the game’s back, massively,” he said. “And the league’s definitely helped that.

“At the start of the season, this new league was all exciting and fresh, and I’ve really enjoyed it.

“It’s nice going to new places and meeting new lads, having a beer and a good chat afterwards.”

Hurley was speaking after Saturday’s 15th round of 23 in the Premiership was completely wiped out by rain. Feniscowles were due to travel to Farnworth Social Circle.

He continued: “When I was 16 or 17, I played at Baxenden. We won the senior (Ribblesdale) league in 2011 and the Ramsbottom Cup the year after. But then I went to Uni, and the commitment wasn’t really there.

“When I came back to Blackburn, Baxenden was hard to get to, so I ended up at Cherry Tree. Then, I had my a little girl and took a step back from cricket.

“But I started working with Paul Lilley, Fenny’s chairman, and he asked if I fancied getting back into it. He said, ‘Come and play a third-team game and don’t take it too seriously’. Within a game, I was in the firsts.

“The good thing is I know there’s plenty of years left in me to catch upon the stuff I missed.”

Despite results not going their way so far, Hurley and Feniscowles have something significant to look forward to given they are competing in the ECB’s Vitality Club T20 competition, starting on August 6.

They won last year’s Ribblesdale League T20 title and while unsure of the format at present are expecting to play in a regional round robin event to kick-start things.

“It’s a bit of a free hit for us, and it will be a good experience playing against some good sides from different leagues,” said the skipper.

“Our pro, Naveed Malik, is well known in Pakistan for T20s, so you never know. If Nav comes off like he can, anything can happen.”

Hurley in part puts their league struggles down to the loss of some key players last winter - he highlighted Zi Bhada to Read and former captain Abrar Hussain to Brinscall.

“We managed to get some lads in, and at the start I was hopeful. But it’s just not gelled and we’ve not had that consistency in the side,” he said.

“Towards the middle of the season, we had a bit of re-assessment of where we were and where we want to get to. We went back to basics, and it’s a sort of a rebuild.

“We want to have a stronger end to the season, and there’s some winnable games there.”

Feniscowles have some exciting young players from Under 11s up, led by 18-year-old all-rounder Joe Callaghan.

“I’ve only known Joe since last year, and he’s come on leaps and bounds since I’ve known him,” added Hurley. “He’s doing cricket at Myerscough College, so he’s constantly playing and improving.

“He can bat, bowls seam up and just loves cricket.”