Little Lever’s title-winning captain Josh Gent believes the Anthony Axford North West Cricket League is set up for a bright future.

Gent says the Victory Road club have loved their first taste of the league formed as a result of the merger between the old Bolton and Ribblesdale Leagues.

“Yeah, we definitely have enjoyed it,” said Gent after his side were crowned champions with their 17th win out of 20 games last weekend, by seven wickets at Ribblesdale Wanderers. “Winning the league is going to contribute to you enjoying it, of course it is. But it’s been a great freshener for everyone because we’ve had some good away days, travelling around to new grounds and meeting some fantastic people. I hope it continues, I’m sure it will. I think the top league will be very competitive when it splits into two next season, and I hope the bottom one is too. It’s got the makings of a great league going forwards.

“Of course, there are things which need looking at, there are always going to be things you can improve. But it’s been absolutely brilliant as a first season. I think a lot of people thought it would fall flat on its face, but it hasn’t.”

Little Lever’s last league title came when they won the 2013 Bolton League. This year, they have won the league and T20 double, and Gent has a message to all of Little Lever’s rivals.

He added: “To all the other clubs, from a team who’s gone from finishing halfway down the Bolton League last year to winning it this, ‘Just keep going’. If you get something good going, special things like this can happen to you. If you keep working hard at it, good things are only a short distance away. Hopefully, we can keep doing things right and challenge for a long time. But for anyone who might finish halfway down and think, ‘Oh no’, don’t. Keep at it and you’ll be rewarded.”